I am excited to announce that in two weeks, I will be releasing the (free) report detailing the findings of my PhD research project! This report has been designed specifically for those fighting to promote sustainable diets based on drastic or total reductions to animal food product consumption. In it you will find some key insights into who participants of meat reduction / vegan campaigns are, how their attitudes and diets changed over time, and what we can do to help create a vegan world!

For three years I worked directly with campaigns promoting meat reduction and veganism, including Animal Aid, Viva!, Friends of the Earth, Animal Equality’s iAnimal, Part-Time Carnivore, and CreatureKind. Using a mixed methods approach, I conducted multiple online surveys over a six-month period for campaign participants in what became the largest sample of meat reducers and vegetarians/vegans (veg*ns) to date (n=1,589).

Surveys included four types of questions:

  1. Dietary habits: reported changes from the previous six months, a food-frequency questionnaire from the past two days, and planned changes for the upcoming six months.
  2. Reduction motivators, including: animal welfare, the environment, health, financial (i.e. to save money), food safety, religion, or other.
  3. Reduction barriers: twenty questions measured via a 7-point Likert scale evaluated perceived barriers regarding willingness to try new foods, habits, health, food safety, knowledge (i.e. knowing “how” to find / prepare veg*n foods), awareness (i.e. not being aware of reasons to eat fewer animal-based foods), cost, availability, social (i.e. responses by friends / family), and taste.
  4. Sociodemographic characteristics: country of residence, income, gender, and ethnicity.

Campaign participants were also invited to attend one of five focus groups held throughout the UK (n=33), which served to triangulate survey data and add depth. Questions focused on the same topics as those within the survey, with opportunities to share personal stories and perceptions. Participants are identified by the focus group they attended, followed by their participant number (e.g. BR for the Brighton focus group).

The third set of data includes interviews with campaign staff (n=13) to better understand the campaigns themselves (e.g. their design and maintenance) and add an additional layer in evaluating the process of dietary transition.

Research Questions:

How do factors enable and hinder sustainable dietary change in the consumption of animal food products?  

Secondary research questions:

  • What types of interventions are used to promote meat reduction and veg*nism in the UK?
  • Who are the primary participants of reduction interventions?
  • How do campaign goals and content relate to the dietary goals and changes of their participants?
  • How do dietary patterns change for reducers?
  • What relationship do reduction goals have to dietary changes?
  • What relationship do specific motivators have to reduction goals and success?
  • What barriers are perceived as most significant for reducers?
  • How can the Behaviour Change Wheel be utilised to evaluate components of the reduction process?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some excerpt and key findings from the report, so make sure to watch this space and subscribe!

20 thoughts on “Research background & design overview

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