MEATigation is a research and industry collaboration project investigating a key step in Norway's transition to a "low-emission society": transforming the food system. A reduction in Western meat consumption is critical for ensuring we have enough food for all the people on the planet, while respecting our planet's boundaries for how much food we can produce. We are, on average, eating twice as much meat as our grandparents used to eat, and we are twice as many people on the planet. Norway's meat consumption increased from ca 35kg per year per person, in 1955, to 75kg of meat in 2017. As shown for instance by the recent Klimakur 2030 report, meat consumption in Norway has a considerable mitigation potential. However, even when positive to climate action, Europeans are reluctant to reduce their meat consumption, especially in the Nordic regions. This is because meat is not just calories: It is culture. Meat is deeply embedded in social practices that weave together meanings and values; competences and experiences; technologies, animals and landscapes. MEATigation's objective is to explore how meat is embedded in Norwegian food practices and to identify ways to promote sustainable meat-use in Norway. Sustainability is articulated following the "3Rs" of sustainable meat-use: R1 Recognising the animals and people working with meat, R2 Replacing animal-based proteins with plant-based or other alternatives, and R3 Refining meat-use to match needs versus wants, reduce waste and malnutrition (e.g. obesity).
MEATigation has started investigating the "3Rs of sustainable meat-use" through data collection with households (WP2), and farms and retailers (WP3). WP2 researchers have collected empirical material (interview and auto-photography data) from a total of 52 households in Oslo, Trondheim, Ottadalen and Søre Sunnmøre, as well as 21 short focus group interviews conducted with groups grilling in parks during the summer of 2021 in Oslo. Data analysis is underway but it so far confirms the stubbornness of meat use in Norwegian food practices. Flexibility with respect to R1 recognition, R2 replacement, and R3 refinement are being investigated. This data will be supplemented with a quantitative survey with a nationally representative sample, funded by FME Include at UiO, on meat use and meat replacement practices. The survey was conducted during the final part of 2021, and results and analysis will be ready early 2022. WP3 have begun ethnographic research with different, small, mostly ecological animal farms across Norway. WP3 has also begun conducting interviews with sustainability change agents in farming and retail, expanding to the restaurant sector in the next year. Data collection will continue throughout 2022. The Fall of 2022 will also see a big stakeholder meeting lead-organised by MEATigation partner Ruralis, and data collection during this meeting. WP1 have designed a diet based on social historical research on food practices in Norway, what we dub the ?Eat Like your Grandparents? or ELG diet. WP1 are currently connecting with chefs and food influencers in Norway to ?upcycle? historical dishes and collect these upcycled recipes, along with historical and other essays, into the Eat Like your Grandparents Cookbook. Experimentation with dietary interventions led by WP4 is planned for 2022-23. Art-based work led by WP4 has started with enthusiasm. The MEATigation Exhibition, showcasing select empirical material and artworks and curated by Center for Genomic Gastronomy, is planned with MEATigation partner Trondheim Kunstmuseum for February 15th to May 1st 2023 at TKM?s Gramølna location in Trondheim. Through this work, MEATigation aims to deliver sound and usable advice to decision-makers in government and industry, and to stimulate public engagement with sustainability and meat.
MEATigation joins eleven researchers in Social Sciences Humanities and Arts with nine industry partners in food provision and sustainability communication to investigate a key challenge facing Norway’s transition to a ‘low-emission society’: transforming the food system. A reduction in Western meat consumption is critical for global food security, respecting planetary boundaries and improving global health. However, even when positive to climate action, Europeans are reluctant to reduce their meat consumption, especially in the Nordic regions. This is because meat is not just calories: It is culture. Meat is deeply embedded in social practices that weave together meanings, identities and values; competences, skills and professions; materials, animals and landscapes that all go into making meat. MEATigation’s primary objective is: To explore how meat is embedded in Norwegian food practices and to identify ways to promote sustainable meat-use in Norway. ‘Sustainability’ is articulated following the ‘3Rs’ of sustainable meat-use: R1 Recognising the animals and people working to provide meat, R2 Replacing animal-based proteins with plant-based, insect-based or in-vitro alternatives, and R3 Refining meat-use to match needs versus wants, reduce waste and malnutrition (e.g., obesity). MEATigation investigates the ‘3Rs of sustainable meat-use’ through data collection with households, farms, retailers, restaurants, and via experimentation with dietary and art-based interventions. MEATigation has three further secondary objectives, to: Deliver sound and usable advice to decision-makers in government and industry on ‘Best practices for sustainable meat-use’; Stimulate public engagement with sustainability and meat, and a methodological meta-objective; Pursue responsible research and innovation (RRI), engage private and public stakeholders to produce project outcomes. Achieving these objectives will get Norway one step closer to reaching its 2030 mitigation goals through meat.