Diversity among flexitarian consumers; stratifying meat reducers by their underlying motivations to move to a plant-based diet
Concerns surrounding environmental and health impacts of meat production and consumption have motivated consumers to reduce their intake of animal-based products, with many adopting a ‘flexitarian’ diet that involves reduction of animal-based products, without complete abstinence. The underlying motivations driving this dietary shift remain unclear.
Two online studies investigated whether subgroups of flexitarian consumers could be identified through individual differences in psychological traits that were hypothesised to be related to flexitarianism. Consumer subgroups were compared on their self-reported meat consumption and factors important to their dietary choices.
In Study 1, self-identified flexitarians (N = 353) completed questionnaires comprising validated items related to psychological aspects of food choices (e.g., food-neophobia, food-involvement, health-consciousness). Consumer segments were created based on clusters of differences in motivations to follow a flexitarian diet. Study 2 (N = 297) sought to validate these initial clusters in a naïve sample of self-identified flexitarians.
In Study 1, consumers grouped into three distinct clusters defined as ‘health-driven’, ‘trend-cautious’, and ‘adventurous’ flexitarians. Differences in food choice motivations and the importance of reducing meat intake were observed between clusters, but not reflected in differences in meat consumption. In Study 2, four consumer segments were defined as ‘health-only’, ‘traditional trend-cautious’, ‘adventurous’ and ‘health-focused’ flexitarians. Again, differences in food motivations, health interest, justifications for meat consumption and the importance of reducing meat intake were observed between clusters, but not reflected in differences in meat consumption.
We provide a novel description of the diverse motivations among flexitarian consumers to reduce animal-based product intake.
A*STAR-MBIE ‘Future Food’ Catalyst Fund ‘The Consumer Dimension of Future Foods [Grant number: A20D3b0075]
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Published inFood Quality and Preference
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© The Author(s)
Publisher statementThis is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/