animals, psychology, solutions & sustainability, amazon

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Consumers are more likely to choose a plant-based meat substitute when the restaurant’s advertising highlights the social benefits of doing so rather than its taste, according to recently published research I conducted with a colleague. We also found that showcasing the social costs of meat consumption also leads to a preference for plant-based “meats.”

To reach this conclusion, we conducted two online experiments to examine the advertising of plant-based burgers and meatballs. Participants were recruited via the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk.

In the first one, 156 participants were shown one of three commercials for a plant-based burger. They saw either a social appeal (“good for the environment and animal welfare”), a health appeal (“good for your health – no cholesterol and more fiber”) or a taste appeal (“tasty and delicious – just like a beef burger”). In all three commercials, we presented nutritional information that showed plant-based burgers had similar levels of calories and protein as that of beef – which is generally true in the real world.

They were then asked to record their burger preference on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 indicated they definitely wanted a conventional beef burger and 7 meant they definitely wanted the plant-based version.

Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday

Participants exposed to the advertising that appealed to their social conscience were more likely to select the plant-based burger than those who saw the health or taste-based ads. Our research found that the social appeals worked because they induced positive feelings of doing something good for society.

The health appeal was ineffective because the nutritional value of the two burgers is so similar. Appealing to taste didn’t work because American consumers believe the taste of beef is superior to that of plant-based meat.

In a second study, we provided 160 different participants with information on the social and health costs of meat consumption. We then asked them to state their preferences for a beef meatball sandwich or a plant-based one on the same 7-point sliding scale. Similar to the appeal to the social benefits, highlighting the costs led to a stronger preference for the plant-based version.

Why it matters

Americans on average consumed about 58 pounds of beef and veal in 2019 – compared with a global average of 14 pounds – and a recent Gallup poll found that two in three U.S. adults say they eat meat “frequently.”

But the production of beef creates 60 times the volume of greenhouse gases as peas, which is one of the vegetables that go into meat substitutes such as the Beyond Burger. Research has also found that plant-based meat substitutes require far less energy, water and land then beef.

Growing consumer concern over beef’s large environmental footprint is one of the reasons major U.S. casual restaurant chains have been adding meat-like options to their menus in recent years. For example, Burger King boasts the Impossible Whopper, Subway offers the Beyond Meatball Marinara and Starbucks sells a breakfast sandwich made with Impossible sausage.

But Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the two main plant-based brands, tend to market their vegetarian burgers with claims of tastes and textures that are similar to that of meat.

Our research suggests that highlighting the social benefits of plant-based menu items would convince more consumers to choose them over meat-based options, thus reducing overall meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s next

We plan to examine if the effectiveness of social appeals carries over to healthier plant-based menu items such as Hawaiian poke bowls with fake fish.

Also, it would be interesting to conduct cross-cultural comparisons. Impossible Foods’ offerings are now available in Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China. We want to investigate how Asian consumers respond to meat-like products given different regional traditions and habits of meat consumption.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

TECH NEWS RELATED

NASA study finds climate extremes affect landslides in surprising ways

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Climate change is driving more volatile precipitation patterns around the world—very dry stretches punctuated by storms that drop large amounts of rain or snow in a short amount of time. While wetter and drier spells may have certain effects that are easy to predict, such ...

View more: NASA study finds climate extremes affect landslides in surprising ways

Fixed-duration strikes can revitalize labor

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain “Fixed-duration” strikes—such as the three-day walkout by 15,000 nurses in mid-September—protect worker interests and impose financial and reputational costs on employers, suggesting that confrontational tactics can help unions counteract increasing employer power, according to new Cornell University ILR School research. “Retooling Militancy: Labor Revitalization and ...

View more: Fixed-duration strikes can revitalize labor

Nord Stream leaked less methane than feared: atmospheric monitor

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained natural gas, which is largely made up of methane. Leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipelines released some 70,000 metric tons of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, researchers said Wednesday, less than previously thought. The Nord Stream ...

View more: Nord Stream leaked less methane than feared: atmospheric monitor

Juno gets highest-resolution close-up of Jupiter's moon Europa

Surface features of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa are revealed in an image obtained by Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) during the spacecraft’s Sept. 29, 2022, flyby. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI Observations from the spacecraft’s pass of the moon provided the first close-up in over two decades of this ocean world, resulting ...

View more: Juno gets highest-resolution close-up of Jupiter's moon Europa

The Best Xbox Series S Deal Yet Goes Live At Target Tomorrow

The impressive discount is offered as part of Target's Deal Days, and it will only stick around until October 8.

View more: The Best Xbox Series S Deal Yet Goes Live At Target Tomorrow

New cleaning technique boosts electronic and photonic prospects of aluminum nitride

Cross-sectional microscopy images of molecular beam epitaxy-grown aluminum nitride on aluminum nitride templates. The black squares in (A) and (E) mark the regions where the corresponding magnified images (B to D and F to H) are taken. The white notches in (A) and (E) indicate the growth interfaces. The ...

View more: New cleaning technique boosts electronic and photonic prospects of aluminum nitride

Utilizing chemo-mechanical oscillations to mimic protocell behavior in manufactured microcapsules

Credit: Oleg E. Shklyaev et al, Matter (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2022.06.063 The complexity of life on Earth was derived from simplicity: From the first protocells to the growth of any organism, individual cells aggregate into basic clumps and then form more complex structures. The earliest cells lacked complicated biochemical machinery; ...

View more: Utilizing chemo-mechanical oscillations to mimic protocell behavior in manufactured microcapsules

Research team develops a cleaner, more cost-effective way to make useful industrial chemicals

Credit: Tony Jin et al, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2022). DOI: 10.1002/anie.202207206 Two renewable resources—cellulose from wood pulp and chitin from the shells of crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans—are known to industrial chemists for their potential for creating highly versatile nanocrystals, useful for making pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial additives and ...

View more: Research team develops a cleaner, more cost-effective way to make useful industrial chemicals

Climate change made summer drought 20 times more likely

Study: Removing GRE requirement does not undermine student success

Earth System Grid Federation launches effort to upgrade climate projection data system

Some everyday materials have memories, and now they can be erased

Newegg's FantasTech Sale Arrives Just In Time For Prime Day

Shocking Study Finds Decreased Proteins – Not Amyloid Plaques – Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

Logging down the value chain raises future forest sustainability concerns

SpaceX capsule heads to space station ferrying NASA crew and Russian

Astronauts fly Albert Einstein doll to demo physicist's 'happiest thought'

Documentary featuring Professor Sara Seager wins Emmy Award

Petting Dogs Engages the Social Brain, According to Neuroimaging

Do You Act Before You Think or Think Before You Act?

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News