Studies from various disciplines show that including more meat-free dishes in our diets benefits our environment and our health while also promoting animal welfare. However, little is known about what encourages the adoption of more meat-free meal choices into our everyday diets. This paper focuses on the role of normative social influence on food choice as a potential answer to this question. In a real-world setting and based on the combination of a field and a survey experiment in seven German university dining halls, I analyze the impact of social norms on meat consumption in a single meal choice situation. I distinguish between descriptive and injunctive norms as well as between remote and direct norms. In a first step, descriptive and injunctive remote norm message interventions promoting a vegetarian diet were implemented. In a second step, the influence of direct social norms, i.e., the influence of vegetarian peers on non-vegetarians' meal choice, was assessed. I find that neither type of remote eating norm influences food choice, while direct normative influence leads to con- vergence towards vegetarian meal choices in a university setting. I summarize the implica- tions of these findings, discuss their limitations, and point to directions for future research.
Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.