What unsustainable behavior needs to change: Eating meat is ingrained is Western culture. It stands for power, for nutritional value, it gives you the proteins you need to grow big. Unfortunately, that comes at a price. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global livestock production makes up 14.5 % of all human caused emissions – 7.1 gigatons of CO2 equivalent / year. And beef is the CO2 champion: Producing a kg of it emits 60kg of CO2 equivalents. Oh, abstract figures. So let’s compare emissions of other food (per kg): root vegetables and apples both produce 0,4kg, peas 1kg, rice 4kg, tomatoes 1,4kg, nuts 0.3kg or bananas 0.7kg.
We need less meat eaters or more people who eat meat less often. Unfortunately, there are food options that basically always come with meat – like burgers. It’s the default. The established normal. You order a burger – you get one with meat.
The Green Nudge: The objective of Burger King Austria’s “Normal or with meat” experiment in a restaurant in Vienna’s Margaretengürtel aimed to changed the status quo. Those who ordered without explicitly demanding “meat” got a veggie burger. This experiment gained some serious awareness through a campaign that accompanied the experiment. We don’t have data available on how many people picked the plant-based version of the burger and/or come back and ordered it again, but we say it has the potential of being a proper default nudge.
Changing habits is extremely difficult. But establishing a new default might nudge some people to reconsider and try new – ideally more sustainable – options. If the product experience is not worse than the unsustainable option, it has the chance to become a new habit. A new normal.