Committed vs. uncommitted meat eaters: Understanding willingness to change protein consumption.Appetite 2019; 138:115-126A
There is a growing trend of consumers in developed countries substituting alternative protein sources for meat and purchasing meat products with specific production-system related credence attributes. This study of Australian meat consumers identifies consumer segments with varying levels of willingness to make the following changes to their protein consumption: reduce meat consumption, follow a meat-free diet most of the time, avoid meat consumption altogether, and follow a strict plant-based diet (i.e., stop eating all animal-products). Segments are characterised, and predictors of segment membership are determined. Discrete Factor analysis, based on a nationally-representative sample of 287 Australian meat consumers surveyed in 2016, identified four unique segments. Findings show that 46% of consumers are not willing to make any changes to their meat/protein consumption ('Committed Meat Eaters'), 22% are willing to reduce meat consumption ('Willing Meat Reducers'), 15% are willing to stop meat consumption/consume plant-based protein foods only ('Prospective Veg*ns'), and 17% are undecided about future change ('Undecided Meat Eaters'). The key factor differentiating Committed Meat Eaters from other segments is the perception that food choices are inadequate in meat-free diets. Committed Meat Eaters are also less likely to believe livestock farming contributes to climate change, and to report a recent reduction in the consumption of at least one type of meat than are Willing Meat Reducers and Prospective Veg*ns. These findings are expected to be of interest to individuals and organisations who may play a role in meeting current and future consumer demand for meat and alternative protein products.