75% vegetarian menu design likely to influence meat eaters

January 24, 2022
75% vegetarian menu design likely to influence meat eaters

An experimental study by researchers at the University of Westminster, UK, suggests that meat eaters may choose plant-based alternatives when the menu offers mostly vegetarian dishes. Recently, many restaurants, cafeterias, and even fast-food places offer at least one vegetarian or vegan option on their menu, in a bid to reduce meat production and their carbon footprint.

The meat and dairy industries account for nearly 60% of our agriculture emissions, or 15-20% of our total, planetary greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also one of the most impactful changes we, as individual consumers can do. Sustainable diet changes are paramount to avoiding catastrophic climate change, a growing body of scientific evidence is showing.

In a 468 participant-large study, the researchers prepared menus where A) 75% of the dishes were meat based and 25% vegetarian; B) 50% of the dishes were meat based and 50% vegetarian; and C) 25% of the dishes were meat and 75% were vegetarian.

The most notable change happened on when participants were presented with the third menu – “We show that meat eaters were significantly more likely to choose a vegetarian meal when presented with a menu with 75% vegetarian items, but not when half (50%) were vegetarian.”

Dr. Beth Parkin, from The University of Westminster, said this type of intervention may push consumers towards more sustainable, low-meat and low-carbon options.

“This intervention shows the potential that the food service sector has in creating large-scale shifts to encourage meat eaters to change their preferences. The findings provide practical instruction on what percentage of their food offerings should be vegetarian if they are to succeed in encouraging sustainable eating behaviors. If the food service industry is to decrease its carbon footprint, they need to act by providing far more plant-based items than currently on offer.”

Read: Switching to plant-based diets may help manage weight issues better

Tags: , , ,

Category: Education, Features

Comments are closed.