Behaviour Change for better health and sustainability

Prof Susan Jebb, Dr Brian Cook, Dr Rachel Pechey, Dr Christina Potter, Cristina Stewart

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The current scale of meat production negatively affects the environment but is an integral part of the diet for many people and an important source of protein and of some micronutrients such as iron and vitamin B12. But meat and meat products are a major source of saturated fatty acids and sodium and the evidence suggests that eating red and processed meat is associated with increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality.

Our research will develop and test interventions to motivate and support people to shift towards healthy and sustainable plant-based diets. We will conduct a large-scale survey and more detailed focus groups to understand the role of meat within people’s diet, and to gauge public attitudes and beliefs around meat reduction. We will also conduct systematic literature reviews to identify interventions which have been shown to reduce meat consumption or to change food purchasing behaviours. Thereafter, we will develop and test behavioural interventions aimed at helping people to shift towards more plant-based diets. These will include a series of intervention studies in collaboration with Sainsbury’s to test strategies to support customers make healthier and more environmentally sustainable food choices, and and research in other consumer environments such as cafes and canteens.