Attached to meat? (Un)Willingness and intentions to adopt a more plant-based diet


In response to calls to expand knowledge on consumer willingness to reduce meat consumption and to adopt a more plant-based diet, this work advances the construct of meat attachment and the Meat Attachment Questionnaire (MAQ). The MAQ is a new measure referring to a positive bond towards meat consumption. It was developed and validated through three sequential studies following from an in-depth approach to consumer representations of meat. The construct and initial pool of items were firstly developed drawing on qualitative data from 410 participants in a previous work on consumers’ valuation of meat. Afterwards, 1023 participants completed these items and other measures, providing data to assess item selection, factor structure, reliability, convergent and concurrent validity, and predictive ability. Finally, a sample of 318 participants from a different cultural background completed the final version of the MAQ along with other measures to assess measurement invariance, reliability and predictive ability. Across samples, a four-factor solution (i.e., hedonism, affinity, entitlement, and dependence) with 16 items and a second-order global dimension of meat attachment fully met criteria for good model fit. The MAQ subscales and global scale were associated with attitudes towards meat, subjective norm, human supremacy beliefs, eating habits, and dietary identity. They also provided additional explanatory variance above and beyond the core TPB variables (i.e. attitudes, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control) in willingness and intentions concerning meat substitution. Overall, the findings point towards the relevance of the MAQ for the study of meat consumption and meat substitution, and lend support to the idea that holding a pattern of attachment towards meat may hinder a shift towards a more plant-based diet