Consumer moral dilemma in the choice of animal-friendly meat products

Lin-Schilstra, Li; Fischer, Arnout R.H.


More and more consumers, at least in Western developed countries, are attentive to the sustainability aspects of their food, one of which concerns animal welfare. The conflict of harming an animal for the joy of eating meat causes a moral dilemma, affecting consumers' reactions to, and choices of, animal-friendly products. This systematic review identified 86 studies from Scopus andWeb of Science. The review outlines: (1) What are the personal antecedents among consumers regarding moral conflicts?; (2) In what situation do moral conflicts occur in consumer food choice?; (3) How do consumers emotionally experience the moral dilemma?; (4) How do consumers resolve moral conflicts over animal products? Researchers have studied personal factors and situational factors that arouse consumers' moral dilemma and how the dilemma is solved, during which emotions and dissonance come into play. When synthesizing these findings into a comprehensive model, we notice that the current research is lacking on how personal factors change and interact with situations, which limits the understanding of the real-life context of consumers' moral dilemma as well as their choices of animal-friendly products. More in-depth studies are needed to find situational factors that contribute to this complex psychological process.