Nieuws - 19 april 2012

The Dutch are not eating less meat overall

Who? Hans Dagevos, researcher at LEI.
Why? Was in the media a lot this week.
Why? His research showed that growing numbers of people eat meat less often.

We are eating less and less meat, according to various media sources. But that is not what comes out of your research.
'True. There is a paradox in the research. The number of people who no longer eat meat every day has increased from 69 to 77 percent. But we are still eating the same overall amount of meat, figures from the meat marketing board show. An average of 43 kilos of meat per person per year, which has stayed the same for about 15 years.'
How is that possible?
'We don't know exactly. Do people make up for a day without meat by eating more meat the next day? No, that turns out not to be the case. In the study we see signs of a division between people who are cutting down on meat and hedonists who eat a lot of meat. But that still doesn't explain the paradox.'
What motivates the people who are cutting down on meat?
'Lofty motives such as health and environment play a role, albeit a small one. There is also a group of people who eat less meat for practical reasons, such as to save money. Funnily enough, the people cutting down on meat are not especially likely to be animal-lovers - that is another paradox thrown up by our research. The trend to cut down on meat is not a marginal one. The study shows that 42 percent of the Dutch do not eat meat for half the week.'