Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more and more popular as a greater variety of plant-based foods become available. A little to no meat diet has been promoted as a healthier option, but can reduced manufacture of animal products also help combat climate change? Michael B. Beverland discusses this concept in his article “Sustainable Eating: Mainstreaming Plant-Based Diets in Developed Economies,” from the Journal of Macromarketing.
Livestock production has an enormous impact on climate change emissions, resource use, habitat loss, and the availability of staples for consumers in developing countries. Despite this, macromarketers have paid little attention to environmentally sustainable diets. Although researchers in health studies have identified the need to mainstream plant-based diets, they downplay the sociocultural meanings associated with meat and vegetable consumption. We propose the challenge of change in eating habits reflects a classic agency-structure tension and draw on Kurt Lewin’s force-field theory to examine five forces for/against the mainstreaming of sustainable diets (human health, environmental sustainability, morality, identity, and institutional factors). Policy solutions are identified with particular attention paid to expanding the size of the health vegetarian segment.
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