Paths that lead astray: Examining the situational predictors of intention-behaviour gaps in meat consumption



Laffan K, Lades LK & Delaney L (2023) Paths that lead astray: Examining the situational predictors of intention-behaviour gaps in meat consumption. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 89, p. 102045.

In many countries around the world, significant proportions of consumers report intentions to reduce their meat consumption. If followed through on, the intentions of these meat reducers could yield substantial environmental, health and animal welfare benefits. Existing research warns, however, that good intentions often go astray. In the current study, we examine the prevalence of intentions to reduce meat consumption in a representative sample of 1492 UK residents. We then investigate the situational correlates of intention-behaviour gaps in meat consumption among a group of 633 people with intentions to reduce their intake in a longitudinal survey involving event reconstruction exercises. Through these exercises, we collect data on the objective situational cues and psychological situational characteristics that predict when this group desired, ate and regretted eating meat during 2777 meal episodes. The results indicate that situational factors are predictive of the range of outcomes of interest. Situations that lend themselves to hedonic, rather than instrumental style, consumption, (e.g., non-routine meals, when the situation is perceived as being pleasant and when taste and craving are important decision factors), eating outside the home in cafés and restaurants and over at family or friend's homes and eating in the presence of others who are eating meat when are particularly predictive of intention-behaviour gaps. The findings highlight the need for intervention work which targets these situations to help meat reducers act as they intend.

Applied Psychology; Social Psychology

Journal of Environmental Psychology: Volume 89

FundersEuropean Commission (Horizon Europe)
Publication date31/08/2023
Publication date online31/08/2023
Date accepted by journal01/08/2023
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Leonhard Lades

Professor Leonhard Lades

Professor in Economics, Economics