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Restaurant menus are part of climate solution, new studies attest

February 14, 2022

The World Resources Institute has trialed the effects of positive messaging on people’s food choices. In a recent study, the two most effective descriptive messages doubled the chance that a consumer would order a vegetarian menu item. 

Participants who read the messages  “small changes can make a big difference” and “join a movement of people choosing foods with less impact on the climate” ​chose a vegetarian dish 25% of the time.

Another research found that when three out of four meal options on a menu are vegetarian, 48% of diners chose a vegetarian meal, compared to just 12% when three meals were meat-based. 

According to the UN, adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful things people can do to tackle climate change. Food production accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gases, making shifting people’s diets toward lower carbon foods a critical strategy for reducing emissions. A major report on land use and climate change, from 2019,  said the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.

“We’re not telling people to stop eating meat. In some places, people have no other choice. But it’s obvious that in the West we’re eating far too much,” said environmental scientist Pete Smith by the time.


Source: World Resources Institute | International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity