Mind the gap: A study of understanding the intention-behaviour gap of alternative protein consumption in the Netherlands by using the social practice theory

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The demand for animal-based proteins and especially meat is increasing. The overconsumption of meat has severe consequences for the environment, human health and animal welfare. Animal products account for a high percentage of GHG emissions in high-income countries. Therefore, reducing the consumption of meat could be a beneficial strategy for climate mitigation. Dutch consumers discuss their intention to lower their meat consumption but this does not translate to their actual behaviour. This research aimed to understand the intention-behaviour gap of Dutch flexitarians by (1) analyzing the intention to consume vegetarian options more frequently, and (2) analyzing the happenings in the intention-behaviour gap by means of the social practice theory by Shove et al. (2012). The main influence on the intention-behaviour gap is the habitual behaviour of meat consumption. This deep-rooted habit, but also the taste of meat and the convenience of consuming meat make it difficult to change to a more vegetarian diet. The efforts of changing this habitual behaviour in combination with the difficulties within the three elements of the social practice theory and the negative influences of other people could be an explanation for the intention-behaviour gap.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen