Perceived Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

40 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2022

See all articles by Romain Espinosa

Romain Espinosa

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Ricardo Azambuja

ESC Rennes School of Business

Date Written: July 21, 2022

Abstract

A global shift toward plant-based diets could significantly mitigate the negative impact of the food system on the environment, health, and animal welfare. While information provision has become a popular tool among policy-makers and social scientists to push consumers towards more sustainable diets, little is known about the population’s knowledge about the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. Using data from a representative sample of the French population (N=715), we elicit the average knowledge about the relative merits of plant-based diets on the environment, health, and animal welfare. We show that people have on average a good knowledge of the relatively lower environmental impact of plant-based diets (GHG, land use) but considerably underestimate their health benefits. We also find that people significantly underestimate the prevalence of intensive farming and, therefore, the merits of adopting a plant- based diet for the animals. Our results show that society is predominantly divided into two groups: those who have a positive opinion of plant-based diets on all dimensions, and those who see less benefit in plant-based diets on all dimensions. We discuss the implications of these findings for the role of information campaigns in changing people’s diets.

Keywords: Plant-based diets, animal-based diets, externalities, environment, health, animal welfare

JEL Classification: Q10, Q18

Suggested Citation

Espinosa, Romain and Azambuja, Ricardo, Perceived Benefits of Plant-Based Diets (July 21, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4220506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4220506

Romain Espinosa (Contact Author)

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France ( email )

Campus du Jardin Tropical
45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
F94736 Nogent sur Marne Cedex
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://romainespinosa.com

Ricardo Azambuja

ESC Rennes School of Business

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