Animal foods and climate change: Shadowing eating practices

Matthew Cole, Mara Miele, Peter Hines, Keivan Zokaei, Barry Evans, Jo Beale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Animal farming exceeds all forms of transport in terms of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Despite the implications of the seriousness of addressing animal farming in relation to mitigating the effects of GHG emissions, to date, the relationship between consumer behaviour and climate change has tended to neglect the role of animal foods. This paper reports on a pilot study in which six UK households were ‘shadowed’ to facilitate the investigation of the relationship between animal food practices and environmental practices, as they emerge in day-to-day life. Results indicate that most participants make no connection between the two issues at present, in terms of awareness or practice. However, animal foods do have an ambiguous and complex status in most participants' food practices; for instance, being viewed as problematic for reasons of health or animal welfare. This finding suggests that further research is needed into the potential for raising awareness of the link between animal-based foods and climate change. This might have a role to play in shifting food practices towards more plant-based, less GHG intensive, foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal foods
  • Climate change
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Environmental concern
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Shadowing


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