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Menu Messaging to Reduce Meat Consumption

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Funding Year: 2017

Research Areas: Food Security, Sustainability

Regions: North America

High levels of meat consumption pose severe environmental and health risks. Globally, livestock produce 14.5 to 18 percent of the worlds total greenhouse gas emissions, an amount larger than the entire transportation sector. Moreover, residents of many developed countries consume far more meat than is considered healthy.


Yet the consumption of large quantities of meat may be a particularly difficult problem to solve. Meat consumption is a well-established and highly visible norm in many developed countries. So how can we curb the current norm of environmentally unsustainable levels of meat consumption in developed countries? One possible solution is to make lower meat consumption a dynamic norm, in other words a norm that is growing in prevalence or becoming more common. Research has shown that learning about the decline in meat consumption among others can lead people to follow in suit and order fewer dishes containing meat. This project will work with cooperating chain restaurants and test the effectiveness of incorporating norm-based messaging into restaurant menus and web-based meal ordering platforms for promoting consumption of plant-based dishes among large numbers of people.

Learn more about the Environmental Venture Projects grant program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

Greg Walton, Professor of Psychology

Neil Malhotra, Professor of Business and Political Science

Thomas Robinson, Professor of Medicine

Project Team:

Gregg Sparkman, Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology

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