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Environment does not drive uptake of meat substitutes: Study

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London, April 27 (MondayMirror.com) People who have a critical attitude toward factory farming or who pay attention to their health in everyday life are more likely to turn to meat substitutes, finds a study.

Concern for the environment, on the other hand, appears to play no role in this decision, according to the study published in the Food Quality and Preference.

Meat substitutes are on the rise. While it used to have a niche existence in health food stores or organic stores, wheat salami, tofu schnitzel or soy mince can now be found in every well-stocked supermarket.

“We wanted to know why consumers choose these alternatives,” said Jeanette Klink-Lehmann, doctoral student at the Institute of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn in Germany.

The team surveyed 441 men and women from Germany and found a greater concern for the environment was not associated with a better rating of meat substitutes, nor with a greater intention to buy them.

“We had expected that ecological aspects would also play a role in the intention to consume meat alternatives,” Marcus explained. “However, that has not been confirmed.”

Animal welfare concerns played a major role in the respondents’ consumption decisions: those who view factory farming critically, have a more positive attitude toward plant-based sausages and veggie burgers on average. This attitude, in turn, has a beneficial effect on the intention to use these alternatives in the future.

A pronounced health consciousness is also associated with a greater willingness to consume meat substitutes. Furthermore, the attitudes of friends and close relatives toward meat substitutes has a significant influence on this decision.

The team recommends better communication of the ecological advantages of meat alternatives. In addition, the industry should pay attention to a healthy and balanced composition in the manufacture of its products.

Moreover, where animal-based foods such as eggs are used in meat substitutes, they should come from farms that pay attention to good animal husbandry.

Source: IANS

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