This blog post includes data from research into seven UK-based reduction and vegan campaigns, drawing on the largest sample of meat reducers, pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans in any research project to date (n=1,587). Research was conducted for my PhD in Social Policy at the University of Kent, using a mixed-methods, longitudinal approach.

Within my research, I will discuss barriers using components of the Behaviour Change Wheel (a.k.a. The Wheel), and in this installment will be talking about Physical Opportunities. These are “afforded by the cultural milieu that dictates the way that we think about things” and includes those “by interpersonal influences, social cues and cultural norms.” [1]

The belief that a veg*n diet was more expensive was, on average, the largest reported barrier, though wide variation emerged within the survey sample and focus groups. Perceptions of cost can relate to governmental policies and subsidies that contribute to disproportionately low AFP prices. [2] Participants lacking in the time, skills, or motivation to cook could also rely more heavily on pre-made or highly processed veg*n alternatives that may have been more expensive. For these individuals, availability could also be perceived as a greater barrier, though dramatic increases in the availability of veg*n alternatives and ready meals [3] may make this less of an issue over time.

The development of veg*n habits and cooking skills could help reduce perceptions that a veg*n diet is more expensive or (too) difficult.  Those practicing veg*nism (i.e. abstainers) were less likely to view veg*n diets as more expensive after six months, while meat reducers were more likely to do so.  Other factors could inhibit physical opportunities, including travelling, having kids, living in a rural environment, or having non-veg*n friends and family.

Though external, perceived physical opportunities are likely to be closely linked to an individual’s habits and psychological capabilities (particularly whether or not one cooks) as well as social opportunities, when needing to attend non-veg*n events or prepare food for non-veg*n family members.

[1] Michie, S., Atkins, L. and West, R. (2014), p. 63.
[2] Chemnitz and Becheva, 2014; Gill et al. 2015; Garnett et al. 2015; Johnston, Fanzo and Cogill 2014; Vinnari and Tapio 2012
[3] Peat 2016; Just Eat 2018

Resources cited:

Chemnitz, C. and Becheva, S. (2014). Meat Atlas: Facts and Figures about the Animals We Eat. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 13 November 2015].

 Garnett, T. et al. (2015). Policies and Actions to Shift Eating Patterns: What Works? [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 13 October 2015].

Gill, M. et al. (2015). The environmental impact of nutrition transition in three case study countries. Food Security; The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food 7:493–504.

 Johnston, J.L., Fanzo, J.C. and Cogill, B. (2014). Understanding Sustainable Diets: A Descriptive Analysis of the Determinants and Processes That Influence Diets and Their Impact on Health, Food Security, and Environmental Sustainability. Advances in Nutrition 5:418–429.

Just Eat (2018). Plant-Based Diet 2018 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 21 August 2018].

 Michie, S., Atkins, L. and West, R. (2014). The Behaviour Change Wheel: A Guide to Designing Interventions. UK: Silverback Publishing.

Peat, J. (2016). Vegan Food Sales Up By 1,500% in Past Year. The London Economic [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 11 December 2016].

 Vinnari, M. and Tapio, P. (2012). Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance. Ecological Economics 74:46–54.

5 thoughts on “Reduction barriers part 3: Availability and access to essential resources

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