May 26, 2022

Poll shows people prefer meat over substitutes

Poll shows people prefer meat over substitutes 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

In honor of Earth Day 2022, IPSOS, a multinational market research and consulting firm released the results of its recent online poll about climate change. The new global survey of 23,577 adults aged 16 to 74 years in over 30 countries found that most prefer meat over alternatives. 

On average, 68% of adults across 31 countries said they are concerned about climate change in their country, yet only 44% say they are likely to eat less meat or replace the meat in some meals with alternatives such as beans to attempt to limit their personal contribution to climate change. “One of the most popular meals in America is one of the most maligned,” says Frank Mitloehner, animal scientist and air quality expert at the University of California, Davis. “While the burger does have an impact on our climate, which we’re working to reduce, it’s simply not the climate killer it’s made out to be.”

Peru led the way, as 64% of people there said they are more likely to eat less meat as a way to cut their climate change impact, followed by Mexico (61%) and China (60%). On the other end of the scale, only 29% of people in both Japan and Canada said they’re likely to eat less meat for climate-change reasons, followed closely by France, Poland, and the United States (all tied at 33%). 

“Yes, animal agriculture is complicit in climate change, but it’s not the lead offender,” Mitloehner says. “By buying into that myth, we’re distracting ourselves from real climate solutions and our most worrisome climate polluters.”

While climate change is a concern, 8th on the list of concerns asked by the poll, Dr. Pippa Bailey, Head of UK Climate Change & Sustainability Practice, Ipsos said “Despite 7 in 10 people being concerned about the impact of climate change on our planet, for the majority of people globally there are other issues they feel are more pressing, such as their family’s health, war, financial concerns, and the ongoing pandemic.” 

Those surveyed seemed to understand that there is more to the burden of climate change beyond individual choice. To reduce carbon emissions, 77% say a great deal/fair amount of responsibility lies with governments while 76% say the same for businesses. Some business sectors are seen as having greater responsibility for reducing their contribution to climate change. Specifically, energy companies (82%), car manufacturers (80%), airlines (77%), and public transport providers (77%).   

“So, there are real opportunities for businesses and governments to provide additional incentives and messaging that will encourage change amongst consumers, but they must also recognize the need for change themselves,” said Bailey.