Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the evidence for a positive correlation between increased consumption of organic products and potential climate change mitigation via decreased consumption of meat and it is discussed to what extent organic consumption is motivated by climate change concerns. Design/methodology/approach – A fixed effects model together with a factor analysis and ordinary least square are used to analyse household purchase data for 2,000 households in 2006-2010 combined with survey questionnaire data from 2008. Findings – A small but statistically significant correlation between increasing organic budget shares and decreasing meat budget shares is found. People include food-related behaviour such as the purchase of organic food and reduced meat consumption as ways to mitigate climate change. However, other behavioural modifications such as reduction of car usage and household heating are perceived as more important strategies. Research limitations/implications – Other food-related mitigation strategies could be investigated. The climate effect of different diets – and how to motivate consumers to pursue them – could be investigated. Individual as opposed to household data would supplement the analyses. Practical implications – Demand-side policies aiming at climate-friendly consumption could be a central factor in combating climate change. Already, food-related mitigation strategies such as lowered meat consumption are established practices among a group of organic consumers. As some consumers believe that climate change can be mitigated by consuming organic food, the authors propose that this is taken into account in the development of organic farming. Originality/value – The authors propose a shift from analysing the climate-friendliness of production to addressing the climate-friendliness of consumption using consumption of organic food as a case. The authors link stated concerns for climate changes with actual food-related behaviour.
British Food Journal, 2014, Vol 116, Issue 8, p. 1314-1329