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We are what we eat : investigating enabling factors for dietary change and sustainable diets in Skåne

Suarez Rozo, Luisa Fernanda LU (2014) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20142
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
The health and environmental impacts of food consumption are increasingly recognized as sustainability issues in developed countries. Therefore, promotion of sustainable diets is becoming more popular among governments and International NGOs. However, the question persists of how best to do this. While the determinants of behavioural change have been studied extensively, the motivations behind behaviour change and those driving sustainable food choices in particular, are not well understood. To help fill this knowledge gap I investigated Skåne residents’ motivations to adopt diets that reduce environmental impacts and enhance health (i.e., vegetarian and vegan diets).

To examine these motivations I conducted a literature review based... (More)
The health and environmental impacts of food consumption are increasingly recognized as sustainability issues in developed countries. Therefore, promotion of sustainable diets is becoming more popular among governments and International NGOs. However, the question persists of how best to do this. While the determinants of behavioural change have been studied extensively, the motivations behind behaviour change and those driving sustainable food choices in particular, are not well understood. To help fill this knowledge gap I investigated Skåne residents’ motivations to adopt diets that reduce environmental impacts and enhance health (i.e., vegetarian and vegan diets).

To examine these motivations I conducted a literature review based on which I designed and applied a survey among 121 vegetarians and vegans living in Skåne. The survey measured 20 different possible motivations, combining 17 motivations considered in well-established food choice surveys, and 3 additional motivations that I derived from literature on pro-environmental behaviour. I undertook descriptive statistical analysis to determine which were the most and least important motivations, and compared all motivations by gender, age, occupation, income and type of vegetarian diet, using t- tests. I also used Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to interpret these findings.

Results show that “animal welfare”, “intrinsic motivation”, “frugality”, “environmental concern” and “health” were the most important motivations, while “sociability”, “social image” and “weight control” were the least important. All demographic factors, except for gender, had an effect on motivations. While older people found “health” significantly more important than younger people, the low-income group found “price”, “sociability” and “social image” significantly more important than the high-income group, and students rated “mood” and “sociability” significantly higher compared with paid employees. In the context of SDT, the most highly rated motivations were consistent with integrated and intrinsic regulatory styles, classifying as autonomous types of motivation. Accordingly, respondents adopted vegetarian diets because eating vegetarian was consistent with their value structure and other priorities in their lives, but also because they enjoyed
eating vegetarian food. However in order to promote sustainable diets it is not enough to promote environmental values. Engaging people with animal welfare, frugal lifestyles and the intrinsic enjoyment of vegetarian food is also necessary, and might prove more effective. Further research on how to engage non- vegetarians with animal welfare and the intrinsic enjoyment of vegetarian food,
might illustrate strategies to promote vegetarianism. (Less)
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author
Suarez Rozo, Luisa Fernanda LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
healthy diets, intrinsic motivation, vegetarian food-choice motives, environmentally-friendly diets, sustainability Science.
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2014: 036
funder
Svenska Institutet
language
English
id
4698761
date added to LUP
2014-10-22 13:48:16
date last changed
2015-06-18 14:04:23
@misc{4698761,
  abstract     = {The health and environmental impacts of food consumption are increasingly recognized as sustainability issues in developed countries. Therefore, promotion of sustainable diets is becoming more popular among governments and International NGOs. However, the question persists of how best to do this. While the determinants of behavioural change have been studied extensively, the motivations behind behaviour change and those driving sustainable food choices in particular, are not well understood. To help fill this knowledge gap I investigated Skåne residents’ motivations to adopt diets that reduce environmental impacts and enhance health (i.e., vegetarian and vegan diets). 

To examine these motivations I conducted a literature review based on which I designed and applied a survey among 121 vegetarians and vegans living in Skåne. The survey measured 20 different possible motivations, combining 17 motivations considered in well-established food choice surveys, and 3 additional motivations that I derived from literature on pro-environmental behaviour. I undertook descriptive statistical analysis to determine which were the most and least important motivations, and compared all motivations by gender, age, occupation, income and type of vegetarian diet, using t- tests. I also used Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to interpret these findings. 

Results show that “animal welfare”, “intrinsic motivation”, “frugality”, “environmental concern” and “health” were the most important motivations, while “sociability”, “social image” and “weight control” were the least important. All demographic factors, except for gender, had an effect on motivations. While older people found “health” significantly more important than younger people, the low-income group found “price”, “sociability” and “social image” significantly more important than the high-income group, and students rated “mood” and “sociability” significantly higher compared with paid employees. In the context of SDT, the most highly rated motivations were consistent with integrated and intrinsic regulatory styles, classifying as autonomous types of motivation. Accordingly, respondents adopted vegetarian diets because eating vegetarian was consistent with their value structure and other priorities in their lives, but also because they enjoyed
eating vegetarian food. However in order to promote sustainable diets it is not enough to promote environmental values. Engaging people with animal welfare, frugal lifestyles and the intrinsic enjoyment of vegetarian food is also necessary, and might prove more effective. Further research on how to engage non- vegetarians with animal welfare and the intrinsic enjoyment of vegetarian food,
might illustrate strategies to promote vegetarianism.},
  author       = {Suarez Rozo, Luisa Fernanda},
  keyword      = {healthy diets,intrinsic motivation,vegetarian food-choice motives,environmentally-friendly diets,sustainability Science.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {We are what we eat : investigating enabling factors for dietary change and sustainable diets in Skåne},
  year         = {2014},
}