Purpose: The paper aims to examine changes in household consumption behaviour through an empirical investigation of the decision to consume meat, to not consume meat or to consume only small amounts of meat. The goal is to find out if the decision not to consume meat is becoming more prevalent, and to understand in what social categories this is happening, if any. A further aim is to investigate whether meat consumption is strongly associated with gender on the household level. Design/methodology/approach: Expenditure survey data gathered from Finland during the last 40 years was used to identify what kinds of changes were taking place in the consumption of meat and meat products. The independent measures include six variables: the gender of the highest earner in the household (HEH), the type of household, the type of municipality and the income quintile, educational level and age of the HEH. The size of the samples varied between 2,986 and 8,258 households. Findings: The analysis revealed that the decision not to consume meat became prevalent in Finland at the end of the 1970s but the growth rate has somewhat stabilised during recent decades. The gender of the HEH affects the family meat consumption. As non-meat consumption has become more widespread it has also more clearly become a middle-class phenomenon. Originality/value: There are no previous studies available on the development of non-meat consumption from this long-term perspective.
- Consumer behaviour