Two Birds, One Stone: The Effectiveness of Health and Environmental Messages to Reduce Meat Consumption and Encourage Pro-environmental Behavioral Spillover

Emily Wolstenholme, Wouter Poortinga, Lorraine Whitmarsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is a growing consensus that reducing excess meat consumption will be necessary to meet climate change targets, whilst also benefitting people’s health. Strategies aimed at encouraging reduced meat consumption also have the potential to promote additional pro-environmental behaviors through behavioral spillover, which can be catalyzed through an increased pro-environmental identity. Based on this, the current study tested the effectiveness of a randomized two-week messaging intervention on reducing red and processed meat consumption and encouraging pro-environmental behavioral spillover. Participants were undergraduate students in the United Kingdom (n = 320 at baseline) randomly allocated to four conditions in which they received information about the health, environmental, or combined (health and environmental) impacts of meat consumption, and a no-message control. The results showed that receiving information on the health and/or environmental impacts of meat was effective in reducing red and processed meat consumption compared to the control group during the intervention period, with some effects remaining one-month later. However, the intervention did not have any effect on pro-environmental identity and there was little evidence of behavioral spillover. Implications for future research and interventions aimed at reducing meat consumption are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number577111
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • environment
  • health
  • identity
  • intervention
  • meat
  • message
  • spillover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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