Students and meat consumption - new research

14th August 2018

The National Union of Students (NUS) has worked with Friends of the Earth to find out more about students' views on eating meat. 

Commonly cited as one relatively easy way to reduce carbon emissions, reducing your meat consumption has long been a topical discussion point. NUS and Friends of the Earth asked 2259 respondents studying in further and higher education about their eating habits and what would encourage them to make changes to their diet to include less meat. 

Findings included:
  • 73% say they eat everything, 8% are vegetarian and 3% are vegan.  13% identify as 'flexitarians', who still eat meat but have reduced the amount in their diet.
  • Of those who eat meat, a third (32%) do so every day.  40% say they do so on most days.
  • Overall, respondents are or would be motivated to eat less meat by the associated health benefits (53%).  45% are or would be motivated to eat less meat due to concerns about the conditions in which animals are reared.  39% say concerns about the impact of meat production on climate change and the environment would motivate them to change their diet.
  • 18% say nothing would motivate them to make changes.
  • For those that do eat meat, 52% say offering a greater range of meat-free meals every day in campus catering outlets would encourage them to pick meat-free options over ones that contain meat.  Providing meat-free options at a lower price than those containing meat would also motivate 42% to make the switch.
  • Of those who say that they would not be willing to eat less meat, 52% say this is because eating meat is something they have always done and have no desire to change.  45% said that they preferred the taste of meat and thought meat-free options weren't as tasty.

Read the full report here.
Students and meat consumption - new research image #1