Anna Birgitte Milford

Research Scientist

(+47) 990 49 836
anna.birgitte.milford@nibio.no

Place
Bergen

Visiting address
Thormøhlensgate 55, 5006 Bergen

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Abstract

Increasing global levels of meat consumption are a threat to the environment and to human health. To identify measures that may change consumption patterns towards more plant-based foods, it is necessary to improve our understanding of the causes behind the demand for meat. In this paper we use data from 137 different countries to identify and assess factors that influence meat consumption at the national level using a cross-country multivariate regression analysis. We specify either total meat or ruminant meat as the dependent variable and we consider a broad range of potential drivers of meat consumption. The combination of explanatory variables we use is new for this type of analysis. In addition, we estimate the relative importance of the different drivers. We find that income per capita followed by rate of urbanisation are the two most important drivers of total meat consumption per capita. Income per capita and natural endowment factors are major drivers of ruminant meat consumption per capita. Other drivers are Western culture, Muslim religion, female labour participation, economic and social globalisation and meat prices. The main identified drivers of meat demand are difficult to influence through direct policy intervention. Thus, acting indirectly on consumers’ preferences and consumption habits (for instance through information, education policy and increased availability of ready-made plant based products) could be of key importance for mitigating the rise of meat consumption per capita all over the world.

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Abstract

Despite the scientific evidence that more plants and less animal-based food is more sustainable, policy interventions to reduce meat consumption are scarce. However, campaigns for meat free days in school and office canteens have spread globally over the last years. In this paper, we look at the Norwegian Armed Forces’ attempt to introduce the Meatless Monday campaign in their camps, and we evaluate the implementation process as well as the effect of the campaign on soldiers. Qualitative interviews with military staff indicate that lack of conviction about benefits of meat reduction, and the fact that kitchen staff did not feel ownership to the project, partly explain why vegetarian measures were not fully implemented in all the camps. A multivariate regression analysis with survey data from soldiers indicate that those who have experienced meat free days in the military kitchen are more prone to claim that joining the military has given them a more positive view on vegetarian food. Furthermore, the survey gives evidence that stated willingness to eat more vegetarian food is higher among soldiers who believe in the environmental and health benefits of meat reduction.

Abstract

In a short period of time there has been a rapid increase in the market for Norwegian branded plant protein processed products, among which some are imported, others produced in Norway. Other countries have a much more developed market from both a producer, technology, and product diversity point of view. Norwegian producers are using already available machinery for the production processes, and mainly imported ingredients such as soya or pea extracts. Norwegian produced potatoes and egg whites are also used. In order for plant protein products to succeed in Norway, we identify some key factors: One is increased knowledge, about both production processes and consumer needs and preferences. The industry also needs to be willing to think more disruptively in order to achieve innovations in this market segment. Furthermore, both the industry and policy makers can put a much stronger effort into educating consumers, in order for consumers to familiarize themselves with plant protein products and their benefits concerning health and the environment.

Abstract

Food production contributes considerably to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Animal products – particularly meat from ruminants – generally have higher GHG emissions than plant products. Over the last few decades the global per capita consumption of animal products has increased. This has a negative impact on climate change, land and water availability, and human health. We are faced with the two-fold challenge of reducing GHG emissions while still producing enough food for our growing population. Part of the solution could be for consumers to change towards a more sustainable diet. In this paper we take Norway as a case study for estimating optimal taxes and subsidies on different food items which can change consumption patterns in order to reduce the GHG emissions derived from the average Norwegian diet. In the estimate we ensure that the average calorie intake with the new diet remains the same as with the current diet, and factor in other health considerations. Our findings suggest that limited but useful emission reduction targets can be set with only a few changes in diets. The methodology presented in this paper may be used to estimate optimal climate taxes and subsidies under different emission, quantities, taxes, subsidies, and health constraints.

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Abstract

Markets for cash-crops in developing countries are typically characterized by a concentration of buyer power at different levels of the supply chain. For instance, small-scale coffee farmers sell their produce to a middleman, who in turn sells the coffee onward to an exporter, often a foreign multinational, with monopsony power in the hands of the purchasers at both levels. We analyze pricing behavior and welfare with different assumptions regarding market power. In particular, we show that a more powerful exporter is likely to benefit the producers and may even lead to higher welfare for the producer country as a whole.