One potentially high-impact but low-cost strategy to help consumers shift their diets to be better for the planet is changing the language used to describe food. However, more research is needed to reveal the potential of improved language to drive consumption of plant-based foods. This report summarizes expert perspectives on key research questions into how language can impact consumer choices around plant-based foods.
WRI released Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future in April 2016, finding that for people who consume high amounts of meat and dairy, shifting to diets with a greater share of plant-based foods could significantly reduce agriculture’s pressure on the environment. Below, we respond to some queries about the methods and findings.
Overconsumption of protein occurs in all of the world’s regions, and it is rising in developing and emerging economies. In 2009, the average person in more than 90 percent of the world’s countries and territories consumed more protein than estimated requirements.
Like overconsumption of calories, overconsumption of protein widens the food gap. Furthermore, animal-based foods are typically more resource-intensive and environmentally impactful to produce than plant-based foods.
This analysis shows how, among high-consuming populations, the three diet shifts could significantly reduce per person agricultural land use and greenhouse gas emissions.
To help shift people’s diets, we propose a new framework based on proven private sector marketing tactics: the Shift Wheel.
New research from World Resources Institute finds the average American could cut their diet-related environmental impacts nearly in half just by eating less meat and dairy. Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future presents solutions to the challenge of feeding a growing population by reducing animal protein consumption, especially beef, and helping shift billions of people to more sustainable diets.
New WRI research shows that diets high in meat and dairy strain land and water resources and fuel climate change. Paper author Richard Waite explains how he cut his diet's environmental footprint in half, even without going vegetarian or vegan.