The research suggests that if the majority of a menu is made up of plant-based foods, then people who usually eat meat are more likely to choose plant-based option.
Should there be more vegetarian options on food menus?
Researchers from the University of Westminster have found that meat eaters are significantly more likely to choose vegetarian meals when they make up the majority of food offered. A menu had to be at least 75 percent vegetarian for this choice tipping point to occur.
People who usually eat meat shifted their choice to vegetarian food only when menus were 75 percent vegetarian, but not when 50 or 25 percent of items were vegetarian. Therefore, meat eaters can change their preferences when given enough vegetarian options to choose from, yet a large proportion of these options are needed to change fixed habits for consuming meat.
This new research involving Dr Beth Parkin at the University of Westminster and Dr Sophie Attwood from the World Resources Institute suggests that the food sector can have a significant impact in promoting sustainable food choices. The researchers argue that this can be achieved by changing how the choice is presented to the consumer without the need to consciously persuade individuals of the benefits of pro-environmental diets.
During the study, the researchers assessed how increasing the availability of vegetarian food in relation to meat impacts the choice of people who usually eat meat. These types of interventions are known as ‘nudges’, as they explore ways in which a decision can be designed to influence a desired behaviour.
The study randomised participants to menus that contained different ratios of meat and vegetarian dishes to determine exactly how much meat availability is needed to promote sustainable choices. It is thought that availability may have increased vegetarian food choice by implicitly suggesting behavioural norms or by providing consumers with a wider range of desirable options.
The food industry is a large polluter, accounting for approximately 25 percent of global emissions and if left unchallenged, the impact of the food system alone would prevent us from reaching targets laid out by the Paris agreement. Incremental changes to our diet can have a big impact on carbon emissions when applied at a large scale, resulting in a significant reduction in domestic GHG emissions.
“This intervention shows the potential that the food service sector has in creating large scale shifts to encourage meat eaters to change their preferences,” said Dr Beth Parkin, lead author of the study from The University of Westminster.
“The findings provide practical instruction on what percentage of their food offerings should be vegetarian if they are to succeed in encouraging sustainable eating behaviours. If the food service industry are to decrease their carbon footprint, they need to act by providing far more plant-based items than currently on offer.”
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Advertising & Targeting".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Analytics".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Performance".
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users' unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls whether you are able to see content which is only available to logged in users.
Performance cookies are includes cookies that deliver enhanced functionalities of the website, such as caching. These cookies do not store any personal information.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and, in conjunction with the cookie 'cf_use_ob', is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls which types of content you are able to access.
This cookie is set by Litespeed Server and allows the server to store settings to help improve performance of the site.
This cookie is set by OneSignal push notifications and is used for storing user preferences in connection with their notification permission status.
This cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.
Analytics cookies collect information about your use of the content, and in combination with previously collected information, are used to measure, understand, and report on your usage of this website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn. The purpose of the cookie is to enable LinkedIn functionalities on the page.
This cookie is set by YouTube and registers a unique ID for tracking users based on their geographical location
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used to store the language preferences of a user to serve up content in that stored language the next time user visit the website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and used for routing.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
We embed videos from our official Vimeo channel. When you press play, Vimeo will drop third party cookies to enable the video to play and to see how long a viewer has watched the video. This cookie does not track individuals.
This cookie is set by Spotler and tracks an anonymous visitor ID.
This cookie is set by Spotler and enables it to track the Load Balance Session Queue.
This cookie is set by Spotler to track the Internet Information Services (IIS) session state.
This cookie is set by Spotler and stores the UTM values for the session. UTM values are specific text strings that are appended to URLs that allow Communigator to track the URLs and the UTM values when they get clicked on.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. It stores information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookies is set by Google Universal Analytics to throttle the request rate to limit the collection of data on high traffic sites.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visited in an anonymous form.
Advertising and targeting cookies help us provide our visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the browser width.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the number of previous page impressions.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets geo-location, user role and user capabilities. It is used by cache busting in Advanced Ads Pro when the appropriate visitor conditions are used.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets the referrer URL.
This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
This cookie is set by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used for tracking.
This cookie is set by Linkedin and is used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.
This cookie is set by YouTube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.