With a handful of cards, people were then directed to match the colours on those they’d taken to one of the six meat personas displayed on the board behind where our researchers were standing. This would allow you to identify yourself as, for example, the BLT (‘meat is for breakfast, lunch and tea’) or the Flexitarian (Most of the time I try not to eat meat but if it’s cooked for me how can I say no?) and this highlighted your priorities, maybe you liked quality over quantity or really valued meat as fuel. There was also an option for people to make a pledge relating to the environmental impact of their meat consumption. This went down well with popular pledge options being opting for meat-free Mondays or buying more plant-based protein.
Our researchers had fascinating conversations with a wide variety of people from local beef farmers to curious teenagers to concerned grandparents. We were also encouraged to think about how barriers to reducing meat eating changed within different cultures with a Vietnamese woman explaining how it was not uncommon to eat insects, while a visitor from Hong Kong told us about the difficulties of trying to reduce meat when her grandparents had cooked her a traditional feast.
We were delighted to get a range of supportive feedback from the public in person and also via our evaluation cards. People commented that they’d learnt about the environmental impact of eating dairy and the relative impact of meat compared to other activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions. People were particularly shocked by the amount of water it takes to produce beef. Many people also told us that they felt inspired to reduce the amount of meat they eat and also to let friends and family know what they’d learnt. Hits on our website peaked at 3,782 that week.
We also had a surprise visit from Instagrammer, Grace Beverley, who storified our information cards and said that the researchers at the kiosk ‘were lovely and very willing to discuss all sides’. We couldn’t ask for nicer feedback.
Thank you, Liminal Space for your amazing support and design and thank you, Land Securities for giving us the space, and most of all, thank you, people of Oxford for being so willing to talk to us and share your insights around your meat-eating.