|dc.description.abstract||In Europe current meat production is largely unsustainable and meat consumption levels are too high. A transition towards more plant-based diets is therefore desirable. This has inspired a growing body of research into the determinants of meat consumption behavior in order to identify leverage points to reduce its levels. However, so far the research field is lacking a strong theoretical foundation and methodological consistency. Also empirical studies and their findings remain limited.
This study aims to address these problems by exploring European students’ meat consumption behavior. Its main objectives are hereby twofold. Firstly, to identify the main explanatory variables related to sustainable food consumption and meat consumption behavior in particular by conducting an extensive literature review of the research field. Secondly, to analyze the relationships between the identified explanatory variables and meat consumption behavior by means of a web-survey with European students.
In the literature review, nine main explanatory variables have been identified: values, attitudes, food choice motives, food involvement, social norms, environmental knowledge, consumer perceptions, habit and socio-demographics. The survey assessed most of these explanatory variables as well as European students’ meat consumption behaviors. The statistical analyses of the collected data (n = 238) produced the following results. Average meat consumption in the sample was lower than expected while environmental awareness was quite high. Correlations showed that all of the identified explanatory variables were significantly related to meat consumption behavior. However, in various regression models only few of the variables turned out as strong and significant predictors. Ecological food choice motives and perceived environmental benefit of consuming less animal products were the two best determinants of reduced meat consumption behavior in this sample. Few of the remaining explanatory variables added significantly to the prediction of meat consumption behavior, leading to a rather moderate amount of explained variance (R² between .33 and .40).
Furthermore, methodological limitations of this survey lead to a limited generalizability of the results and make it difficult to draw any definite conclusions. Meat consumption behavior therefore remains a complex and challenging study subject and more research is required to improve current models for its explanation and prediction.||