Capabilities and Opportunities of Flexitarians to Become Food Innovators for a Healthy Planet : Two Explorative Studies

Sijtsema, Siet J.; Dagevos, Hans; Nassar, Ghalia; van Haaster de Winter, Mariët; Snoek, Harriëtte M.


To support the transition to a more plant-based diet, it is necessary to better understand flexitarians, i.e., individuals who curtail their meat intake by abstaining from eating meat occasionally without fully abandoning meat. Much of the research about eating (less) meat thus far has focused on motivations. However, a dietary shift toward less meat consumption also demands that capabilities and opportunities be taken into account. The present study explores the capability and opportunity variables in terms of enablers and barriers to reduced meat consumption. Focus group discussions (Study 1) and a survey study (Study 2) were conducted. Study 1 provides an overview of what food consumers perceive as capabilities and opportunities in the context of limiting meat consumption. Study 2 quantifies the aspects of capabilities and opportunities with a special focus on enabling and constraining aspects regarding plant-based meat substitutes. Both studies examine what Dutch flexitarians designate as capabilities and opportunities in transitioning to eating less meat in everyday life. More insight into this helps to find and facilitate food choices that make the flexitarian choice an easier and more obvious one and consequently contribute to flexitarians as food innovators for a healthy planet.