Politicised Opinion Leaders in the Younger Generation: To Meat or Not to Meat?

Maureen Schulze*, Achim Spiller, Kristin Jurkenbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: The consumption of animal-based food products faces several sustainability challenges. To date, however, meat intake plays an important role in everyday food choices. With their ability to change the opinions of a critical mass, opinion leaders in food choices are assumed to play a predominant role in influencing future dietary styles. Thus, the objective of this study was to identify opinion leaders in food choices and their personal meat consumption behaviour as well as their attitude towards policy interventions aiming to meat reduction.
Design/methodology/approach: The sample consisted of 1,479 German participants aged between 15 and 29 years who were online surveyed in autumn 2020. A latent profile analysis (LPA) identified three distinct groups of opinion leader in the younger generation labelled “non-opinion leaders”, “weak opinion leaders” and “opinion leaders”. The identified profiles were used to understand opinion leaders and their food choices by using chi-square tests as well as univariate ANOVA with Tukey or Games-Howell post hoc tests.
Findings: Opinion leadership in food choices was associated with a higher interest in meat-reduced dietary styles and with more positive attitudes towards innovative food ideas. Moreover, opinion leaders were associated with politicised food decisions, indicating that their food choices align with their political and social interests.
Originality/value: The results contribute to a better understanding of the development of future dietary styles, provide evidence for a shift towards more sustainable dietary patterns in the near future and highlight that food decisions are no longer solely decisions on an individual basis but rather becoming of political relevance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)3907-3921
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 28 December 2021.


  • Youth
  • Opinion leadership
  • Meat consumption
  • Sustainability
  • Politicised eater
  • Latent profile analysis

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