How to Move the Transition to Sustainable Food Consumption Towards a Societal Tipping Point

Maureen Schulze, Meike Janssen*, Jessica Aschemann-Witzel

*Corresponding author for this work

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A large-scale transition of food consumption in high-income countries is required to mitigate adverse impacts on the climate and the environment. To further understand which actions can contribute to triggering societal tipping in sustainability transitions empirical observations and a closer link to existing theories is urgently needed. We integrate renowned models of behavior change, food consumption, and marketing into the framework of positive tipping points in sustainability transitions using an empirical analysis of four case studies from Denmark. The proposed framework specifies enabling conditions, interventions, and reinforcing feedback. The case studies suggest that the factors identified from existing consumer-oriented theoretical frameworks can lead to societal tipping points. Also, the transition to sustainable food consumption requires not only engagement from all groups of actors—business/industry, policy, civil society, and consumers—but also pooling and aligning the available resources to trigger a societal tipping point. The case studies provide interesting examples of how influential single players can scale up system change. The paper concludes with a critical reflection of tipping points in sustainability transitions of the food system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123329
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Societal tipping point
  • Sustainability transition
  • Food consumption
  • Behavior change

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