Turning traditional meat-centric table norms on their head, delegates at the third annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference (BECC), held in Washington DC on November 15-18, were served a vegetarian lunch. A meat-based meal was offered as an alternative to those who requested it.
Only 20 per cent of the 700 diners opted for a meat dish, with 80 per cent choosing to stay with the vegetarian main. At a prior BECC conference, where the default menu contained meat, only 17 per cent of attendees chose the vegetarian meal. When a meat-based starter is served, and a vegetarian alternative is on offer, typically only 5 to 10 per cent of people will request the veggie option.
Evidence, if any were needed, that it’s how the questions are phrased that is important – and perhaps that people are more willing to embrace a meat-free lifestyle than had been previously assumed.