Segmenting consumers of meat and dairy products from five European countries: Implications for promoting sustainable food choices

Meng Yue, Shan Jin*, Sophie Tindale, Victoria Vicario Modrono, Pedro Sanchez Zamora, Rosa Gallardo, Paul Newell-Price, Lynn J. Frewer*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Accelerating the transition of agri-food systems towards higher sustainability requires greater understanding of consumers' decision-making related to sustainable food choices, together with competing drivers which may result in unsustainable food choice demand. Meat and dairy production systems negatively contribute to greenhouse gas targets, unless sustainable production methods are applied, and these are understood by consumers and used in food choices. The psychological factors determining consumers' attitudes towards sustainably produced meat and dairy products were assessed. Data were collected through an online survey across five European countries (Czechia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) (n = 2490) in November 2021. The results showed consumers perceived food sustainability to be less important than sensory and healthiness attributes. UK consumers showed the strongest intentions to increase consumption of sustainably produced meat and dairy products. In contrast, Swiss consumers demonstrated the weakest intentions. A two-stage cluster analysis based on consumers' perceived attribute importance identified four distinct segments: low food involvement (19.6 %), high food involvement (31.9 %), price-sensitive (23.2 %), and health- and sustainability-involved (25.3 %) consumer segments. Respondents in low food involvement and price-sensitive consumer segments tended to be younger and have lower environmental preservation attitudes and were more prevalent in Switzerland and Czechia. Those in high food involvement and health- and sustainability-involved consumer segments perceived higher importance of food sustainability and were more prevalent in Spain and Sweden. These respondents expressed greater intentions to increase consumption of sustainably produced meat and dairy products, at the same time being more likely to recognise the utility of sustainability labelling information. Animal welfare information was perceived to be most important for respondents in all the segments with the exception of those in the price-sensitive consumer segment. Building on the results, recommendations for promoting consumer sustainable food choices are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Volume47
Early online date5 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 5 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Sustainable food choices
  • Consumer segments
  • Importance of food attributes
  • Sustainability labelling
  • Meat and dairy products

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