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British Social Attitudes: Are we eating less meat?

Food shopping
Researchers: Ian Simpson
Published: February 2016

Aim 

The Vegetarian Society commissioned NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey to investigate contemporary attitudes to meat-eating and to explore public perceptions of dietary choice as it relates to health, animal welfare and environmental issues. NatCen interviewed a randomly selected sample of 2,878 respondents on their attitudes as part of the 2014 British Social Attitudes survey.

Findings 

  • Three in ten people in Britain (29%) say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat in the past 12 months.
  • Women (34%) are most likely to have reduced their meat intake but nearly a quarter of men (23%) have also reduced the amount of meat they eat.
  • Older people were more likely to have reduced their meat consumption: 39% of 65-79 year olds have done so, compared to 19% of 18-24 year olds.
  • Over half (58%) of people in this group cited health reasons as a reason for consuming less meat.
  • Other reasons for consuming less meat included: saving money (mentioned by 21% of people), concerns over animal welfare (mentioned by 20% of people), concerns around food safety in relation to meat (mentioned by 19% of people), concerns over the environment (mentioned by 11% of people). 

Download the full report here.

Methods

For 32 years the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey has been one of the most authoritative sources of data on the views of the British public. The BSA sample is selected using a random probability sample and the data collected is weighted to the profile of adults in Britain. Therefore, we can be confident that BSA findings are representative of adult public opinion in Britain. More details about BSA can be found here: bsa.natcen.ac.uk