Leonie Gollisch, Agricultural, Food and Environmental Policy Analysis - Master´s Programme
Short description of your pro: Our food system contributes significantly to global GHG-emissions, accelerating climate change. A switch in diets, especially from high-emitting meats to less-emitting plant-based goods, is therefore required to fulfill defined mitigation targets. Within this context, plant-based substitutes came increasingly into focus as their markets experience unprecedented growth. At hand of supermarket instore data, specified on minced products of animal and plant-based origins, it was the aim of this work to analyse whether taxes and subsidies could increase people’s relative plant-based consumption in place of meat, to reduce diet-related GHGs. Two policy scenarios, a taxation of external effects and same taxation with a 10 % subsidy placed on plant-based goods, were tested. Results indicate that demand changes as a response to the intervention, and GHGs can be reduced. However, reduced meat in favour of plant-based consumption for emission mitigation cannot be reached. The obtained findings indicate that consumers highly prioritize beef and rather reduce their demand for substitutes to sustain meat purchases in case of taxation or use additional budget margins on further beef purchases if the subsidy is placed. Accordingly, the effect on beef demand heavily determines the emission scheme as the product dominating purchases. Before price-based measures can be effective and induce a dietary shift, consumers need to perceive plant-based products as valid foods and increase their purchases. Only then such measures could play an important role in stimulating consumers’ willingness to substitute.
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