It's not vegetarian, it's meat-free! Meat eaters, meat reducers and vegetarians and the case of Quorn in the UK

Apostolidis, Chrysostomos and McLeay, Fraser (2016) It's not vegetarian, it's meat-free! Meat eaters, meat reducers and vegetarians and the case of Quorn in the UK. Social Business, 6 (3). pp. 267-290. ISSN 2044-4087

Its not vegetarian its meat-free! Meat eaters meat reducers and vegetarians and the case of Quorn in the UK (Pre peer-review).pdf - Accepted Version

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During the past decade, environmental, health, economic and ethical concerns relating to increasing levels of meat consumption have attracted the interest of governments, media and the public. Existing literature has highlighted the impact of personal values and the perceived benefits that meat substitutes bring to consumer food choices and sustainable consumption. Food policy makers often put faith in food manufacturers to identify appropriate interventions aimed at changing consumer behaviour and encouraging more sustainable diets. The purpose of this paper is to explore how values and benefits influence consumer preferences for meat substitute products and consumer perceptions on how a meat substitute manufacturer can motivate people to replace meat.


Quorn, the largest manufacturer of meat substitutes in the UK, is used as a case study to explore consumer perceptions of meat substitutes and related behaviour. Recently, Quorn has gone to great lengths to improve the image of substitute products, and employed various strategies to encourage substitution of meat with meat-free alternatives on the basis of health and sustainability. Using the means-end chain approach and Schwarz's (1992) theory of basic values, the research links the Quorn-specific attributes to the needs and values of UK consumers. Thirty-two vegetarians, meat reducers and meat eaters were recruited and participated in 4 group interview sessions that followed a 'hard' laddering approach, to measure the means-end chains and provide insights into consumer motivation when purchasing Quorn products. The results were coded using content analysis, and the themes were aggregated and presented in a set of Hierarchical Value Maps.


Even though Quorn products are perceived as more expensive, most consumers associate them with health and sustainability-related benefits driven by values of security, benevolence and universalism. Furthermore, hedonism and conformity are identified as important values, driving purchases of meat substitutes. A pleasant taste, easiness to replace meat in food dishes, and a fit with the current lifestyle are important.

Our results show that differences exist between groups of consumers with respect to their meat consumption patterns, and therefore different interventions may be necessary to encourage meat substitution. The effectiveness of advertising, celebrity endorsement and digital media is discussed as having a positive impact on demand for meat substitutes, and therefore could be part of an intervention agenda aimed at encouraging more sustainable patterns of meat consumption.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Author Posting © Westburn Publishers Ltd, 2016. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy-edit version of an article which has been published in its definitive form in the Social Business journal, and has been posted by permission of Westburn Publishers Ltd for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Social Business, Vol. 6, 2016, no. 3, pp. 267-290, doi:10.1362/204440816X14811339560938 Article assigned to the September 2016 issue of the journal.
Uncontrolled Keywords: meat substitutes, sustainable consumption, means-end chains, values, vegetarianism, meat reduction
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 16:56
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 14:20

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