PhD student: Anouk Reuzé
Title: Rebalancing consumption between animal-based and plant-based foods: an epidemiological approach to motivational and sociodemographic factors influencing the process of change toward more sustainable behaviours.
Supervisors: Benjamin Allès, Sandrine Péneau
Doctoral school: ED 146 Doctoral school Galilée, University Sorbonne Paris Nord
Funding: Université Sorbonne Paris Nord
One key lever of sustainable food transition involves shifting dietary habits towards more sustainable practices, such as rebalance in the consumption between animal-based and plant-based foods. However, limited information is available, especially in the context of France, regarding the enablers and barriers associated with these dietary changes.
This PhD thesis uses a transdisciplinary approach to investigate motivational and sociodemographic factors associated with the adoption of more sustainable dietary behaviours, specifically the reduction in meat consumption and the increase in legume consumption. It was conducted using, a large study sample of French adults from the NutriNet-Santé study. Data on dietary changes and associated motives were assessed through a questionnaire administered to participants in 2018. Dietary intakes were estimated using 24-hour dietary records and food frequency questionnaires.
Diverse motives, including health, nutrition, environment, and food preferences, as well as secondary motivations such as those related to social influences, were associated with changes in meat and legume consumption. Specific sociodemographic factors were also identified in association with different change-inducing motives. The study of the process leading to reduced meat consumption was estimated through the stages of change from the transtheoretical model. Differences in motives and sociodemographic factors at different stages of change were observed. The modelling of the evolution of dietary intake led to the conclusion that reducing meat consumption was accompanied by a rebalancing between consumptions of animal-based and healthy plant-based foods. These more sustainable dietary changes have led to a decrease in diet-related carbon footprint.
These findings underline the that only a part of the French population seems to be engaged in long-term dietary changes, and highlight the need for more efforts in terms of health promotion in nutrition in order to extend sustainable eating practices to the whole population.