Sustainable Consumption in Everyday Life: A Qualitative Study of UK Consumer Experiences of Meat Reduction

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A reduction in meat consumption is increasingly considered fundamental to a sustainable food system. This paper contributes to understanding how meat consumers enact ‘meat reduction’ in the context of their everyday lives, exploring the motivations, strategies and experiences of eating less meat. Data were generated through twenty in-depth interviews with UK meat eaters, half of whom aimed to reduce their meat intake. Accounts from three meat-reducing respondents are used to present insights from the in-depth exploration of meat reduction in relation to broader practices of eating and food provision in daily life, interpreted through the lens of a practice-oriented understanding of consumption. Findings suggest that the enactment of meat reduction is determined by factors beyond individuals’ ethical stance towards environmental issues or animal welfare. Rather, meat reduction relates to understandings of nutrition and vitality of the body, concerns about the conditions of meat provision, and the personal relationships and routine activities through which meals are sourced, prepared and eaten. The study highlights the variety in understandings underpinning the motivations and strategies of consumer meat reduction. The analysis contributes to the literature on sustainable consumption and production, with a case study of the lived experience of sustainable dietary change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2307
Issue number7
Early online date4 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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