Attitudes to meatless meals: a comparison of the general public and those with links to the agricultural economy.
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MACKENZIE, M. and SHANAHAN, L. . Attitudes to meatless meals: a comparison of the general public and those with links to the agricultural economy. Nutrition and food science [online], (accepted).
Introduction: Adopting meat reduction strategies within the United Kingdom (UK) is fundamental to limiting environmental damage and achieving public health benefits. This study aimed to compare the attitudes to adopting meat reduction strategies within the general population and people with a link to agriculture to understand attitudes to meat reduction. Methods: Cross sectional self-administered questionnaires were disseminated using online fora, community groups and by attending agricultural marts. Questionnaire development was informed by current literature, and structured around four theoretical domains – knowledge, social/cultural influences, beliefs about consequences and intentions to change and a food frequency questionnaire for meat consumption. Inclusion criteria were people > 18 years, living in the North East of Scotland. 470 adult participants, from within the North East of Scotland, were recruited. The study population was divided into two groups, individuals with a link to the agricultural economy (n=174) and the general public (n=296). Results: The’general public’group were more willing than the agricultural community to adopt meatless meals (or were doing so) (55.1% (n=162) vs 28.1% (n=49), p <0.001. Barriers to change included habit, limited choice when eating out, resistance of family members, lack of information, income related to meat consumption and the status of meat within a meal. Men were less likely to choose meatless meals than women (23.8%, n=36, vs 55.1%, n=176), p<0.001). Conclusion: Meat reduction strategies should be tailored appropriately to population groups, with an understanding of social and political drivers, and further studies investigating barriers within the agricultural economy are warranted.