When indifference is ambivalence : Strategic ignorance about meat consumption

Onwezen, Marleen C.; Weele, Cor N. van der


Meat consumption is associated with a tension, for example the tension between love of meat and concern about animal welfare or health. Based on the literature we propose four consumer segments that each respond differently to (potential) conflicting thoughts in the context of meat: struggling-, coping-, strategically ignoring-, and indifferent consumers. As proposed we identified the four segments (of which one segment can be divided in two separate segments) in two separate cases (N = 1842). This study is the first to identify a group of strategically ignorant consumers for a real life issue (i.e., conflicting experiences regarding meat consumption). The findings indicate that previously labelled indifferent consumers consists of 1) consumers who do not care and, therefore, ignore the issue and 2) consumers who do care but strategically choose to ignore the issue. We discuss the theoretical implications of strategic ignorance and the practical implications for reducing meat consumption.