Awareness of plant-based options incentivizes students to make more plant-based choices and consume less meat on campus, according to a study published in Food Policy. Researchers divided students into two groups, one of which attended lectures on how dietary choices affect climate change and the health benefits of eating less meat, while a control group attended a lecture on a placebo topic. The researchers then tracked meal purchase data and found those in the intervention group were 4.6% less likely to purchase a meat-based meal and 4.2% more likely to purchase a plant-based option due to concerns for personal and environmental health when compared to the control group. Beef, poultry, and fish sales declined throughout the academic year. The authors suggest that future interventions remain culturally relevant to the target population. These results show that supportive interventions can shift societal norms to reduce the detrimental health and environmental impacts caused by meat consumption.
Jalila AJ, Tasoffb J, Bustamante AV. Eating to save the planet: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial using individual-level food purchase data. Food Policy. Published online August 11, 2020.