Most Prefer Beef Burgers Over Substitutes
While two-thirds of adults globally say they are concerned about climate change, most say they choose to eat beef burgers over the plant-based variety even when the alternative protein is presented as more eco-friendly. That’s the findings of an online poll of 24,000 adults by Ipsos’ Global Advisor market research conducted between Feb. 18 and March 4, 2022.
On average, 68% of adults across 31 countries said they’re concerned about climate change in their country, yet only 44% say they are likely to eat less meat or replace the meat in some meals with alternatives such as beans to attempt to limit their personal contribution to climate change.
“Will people cut down the amount of meat they eat for the planet? For many, the answer is no,” Ipsos noted in a news release about its report.
Among countries whose respondents said they are likely to eat less meat in order to cut their environmental impact, Peru topped the list at 64%, followed by Mexico (61%) and China (60%).
On the other end of scale, only 29% of people in both Japan and Canada said they’re likely to eat less meat for climate-change reasons, followed closely by France, Poland and the United States (all tied at 33%).
Worth noting is the fact Ipsos’ statement announcing these results contained a nearly 10-year-old quote from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that claimed livestock accounted for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that has been widely debunked by scientists.
Despite the exaggerated U.N. figure for GHGs, the number continues to find its way into research and reports as a cudgel to use against livestock producers.
“One of the most popular meals in America is one of the most maligned,” says Frank Mitloehner, animal scientist and air quality expert at University of California/Davis. “While the burger does have an impact on our climate, which we’re working to reduce, it’s simply not the climate killer it’s made out to be.”
While Ipsos’ global poll results suggest demand for meat will remain strong in the near term, the fact the study was conducted along with repeating the faulty U.N. statistic only furthers misinformation about livestock.
“Yes, animal agriculture is complicit in climate change, but it’s not the lead offender,” Mitloehner says. “By buying into that myth, we’re distracting ourselves from real climate solutions and our most worrisome climate polluters.”