PhD Event


3rd year PhD presentation - Louise Randers

Meat consumption from a multiple identity perspective

Info about event


Wednesday 29 June 2022,  at 14:00 - 15:30




Department of Management

Supervisors: John Thøgersen & Alice Grønhøj
Discussants: Liisa Lähteenmäki & Jessica Aschemann-Witzel

How do consumers’ multiple identities influence meat consumption? In my 3rd year presentation, I will investigate in what ways identity as a plural concept can offer novel insights into consumption, reduction, or rejection of meat. I will present three papers, employing three different methods to study this relationship.

Paper 1 explores how higher-order identities govern consumption, reduction, and rejection of meat, including how conflicts between identities are solved through coping mechanisms or change in consumption patterns. 13 semi-structured interviews, in which two visual approaches were used, find three higher-order identities that affect consumption, reduction, and rejection of meat. Also, conflicts between health, moral and hedonic concerns appeared, alongside with conflicts related to identity stigma. Selective attention and altering patterns of meat consumption are used to cope with these conflicts.

Paper 2 studies how insights from attitude and goals theory can be used to understand how identities at different levels of abstraction interact and co-determine intentions and behaviour related to meat consumption. In a cross-sectional survey design, known and novel identities were identified and structural equation modelling suggests a hierarchical organisation of identities, some having direct, others only indirect effects on meat consumption. More abstract identities (e.g., national identity and environmental identity) mostly influence intentions to eat meat indirectly, meditated through more behaviour-specific identities (e.g., flexitarian identity). The impact of the attitude towards reducing meat consumption also appears to be meditated through behaviour-specific identities (especially flexitarian identity), which suggests that attitudes towards a behaviour can be transformed into a behaviour-specific identity (being a flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan). However, some higher-order identities also appear to have a direct impact on intentions to eat meat after controlling for more behaviour-specific identities.

Paper 3 examines how, when, and why an attitude towards a behaviour (reducing meat consumption) cross the threshold of self-relevance and gives rise to an identity (being a flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan). In a longitudinal field experiment, we test a social-psychological model suggesting that the likelihood that an attitude towards a behaviour (e.g., eating vegetarian) transforms into an identity (e.g., vegetarian identity) increases with repeated and frequent identity-consistent behaviour and with the behaviour-activated aligned attitudes. One of the possible mechanisms driving this process is proposed by self-perception theory, namely that inferences about one’s own behaviour guide self-perceptions and, thus, identity. It is expected that harmony between the new identity and the existing identity constellation is essential to the identity adoption process, as suggested, for example, by cognitive dissonance theory. Participants (students at Danish continuation schools) were allocated to two matched groups and “nudged” to eat more vegetarian food than normal through an intervention design: Opt-out of vegetarian meals in four weeks, followed by opt-in for vegetarian meals in four weeks, and the reverse order in the control group. Preliminary results confirm that the intervention caused more weekly vegetarian meals in the opt-out condition than in the opt-in condition. Further, participants identified more strongly with being a vegetarian and a vegan after the eight weeks. Surprisingly, results also show that attitudes toward reducing meat decline significantly from the pre-measurement to the post-measurement in both groups. We are currently investigating this unexpected result.

Everyone is welcome!