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STUDY: One in three ‘Meat Free Monday’ participants turn veggie after five years


The study showed that behaviour change campaigns like Meat Free Monday (MFM) are most effective if they can maintain people’s active engagement. MFM encourages and support people to having a plant-based day each week.

MEAT FREE MONDAY: Meat eaters who engage in campaigns such as Meat Free Monday (MFM) over a longer period of time are more likely to change their diet to vegetarian or vegan, according to a new study by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and MFM published in the journal Appetite. More than 30% of those who engaged with the programme for five years or more stopped eating meat, with a corresponding 20% of those who engaged for three to five years.

Meat Free Monday aims to encourage and support people to reduce their meat consumption, initially by having a plant-based day each week, in order to help slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health…

One of the participants of the study, Nick, said: “We did it a few Mondays in a row. And then it turned into sort of most weekdays and then all weekdays. And then all weekdays and most weekends. And then, even when I was eating out, I was just choosing not to eat meat as well.” Another participant, Adam, said: “You don’t start taking up jogging and run a marathon straight away: you break yourself in gradually. I think that’s possibly the way to do it, and it certainly was to me”…

Dr Richard de Visser, Reader in Psychology at BSMS and lead author, added: “Our study showed that behaviour change campaigns like MFM are most effective if they can maintain people’s active engagement. We now need to work on developing the best ways to keep this engagement, through providing the kind of support, information and advice that participants want.” SOURCE…

According to the study: Beyond “Meat Free Monday”: A mixed method study of giving up eating meat. (de Visser, R.O., Barnard, S., Benham, D., Morse, R.)

“Increasing numbers of people are vegan, vegetarian, or reducing meat consumption. There has also been growth in campaigns such as Meat Free Monday (MFM) that encourage and support reduced meat consumption. We conducted a mixed-method exploration of the behaviour and beliefs associated with reducing or eliminating meat consumption.

An online questionnaire was completed by an opportunistic sample of 655 people aged 18-82 who were registered on the MFM website, and were meat eaters at the time of registering. The key focus of quantitative analyses was comparisons between three groups: those who described themselves as “omnivores” who ate all meat at the time of completing the survey, those who ate only some meat, and those who had stopped eating meat since registering for MFM.

The qualitative component entailed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of in-depth interviews with 18 people who had completed the questionnaire. The quantitative data revealed that people who had stopped eating meat since engaging with the MFM campaign had more positive attitudes toward being vegetarian or vegan, had been engaged with MFM for a longer time, and had used more elements of the MFM website. The qualitative data illustrated that individuals understood and appreciated MFM’s aim of supporting people to make an initial change and then considering expanding on this.

Interviewees highlighted the value and importance of campaign materials that helped them to turn their beliefs and motivation into enduring behaviour change. The observed associations between longer engagement with the campaign and greater behaviour change suggest that MFM and similar campaigns will maximise their impact if can maintain people’s active engagement: that this will necessitate deeper understanding of the forms of support and advice are most wanted and most effective”. SOURCE…


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