Is China ready for change? Consumer behaviour towards buying plant-based meat alternatives: applying the COM-B model

Jiang, M. and Farag, K.W. (2023) Is China ready for change? Consumer behaviour towards buying plant-based meat alternatives: applying the COM-B model. British Food Journal. ISSN 0007-070X

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Purpose Many consumers express interest in plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA); however, they are reluctant to change their meat consumption behaviour. To support the transition to a “meat-free” diet, it is necessary to understand the influencing factors to purchase PBMA. This study responds to a gap in the literature and aims to explore the factors influencing Chinese consumers' willingness to purchase PBMA in terms of “Capability, Motivation and Opportunity”. Design/methodology/approach Cross-sectional data were collected through an online survey in China (n = 591). Correlation testing and multiple linear regression were used to identify factors that may influence consumers' willingness to purchase PBMA by applying the COM-B model; which refers to Capability (C), opportunity (O), and motivation (M) as three key factors capable of changing behaviour (B). Findings The results show that consumers with better income and education are more likely to consume PBMA. Familiarity with purchasing channels and cooking knowledge were “capability” catalyst for purchase intentions; support from people around and who also consume PBMA provided opportunities; animal welfare, food safety, sustainability and emotional benefits were motivating factors for facilitation. With capabilities and opportunities, consumers are more likely to be motivated to purchase PBMA. It was also clear, environmental support and appropriate purchasing conditions overweigh knowledge and previous experience in motivating PBMA purchase. Additionally, the study found that familiarity, past experience, high status symbols of meat and health concerns were positively associated with but did not affect purchase intentions (p > 0.05). Social implications The current study did not find a substitution effect for PBMA, as participants tended to consider PBMA as a type of meat and did not substitute it for their daily meat consumption unless motivated. Originality/value This study provides a theoretical framework and insights for future research, and production companies can develop marketing initiatives based on the contributing factors using the COM-B model.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Meat substitutes, Plant-based meat alternatives, COM-B model, Consumer behaviour, China
Divisions: Animal Health, Behaviour and Welfare (from 1.09.21)
Depositing User: Mrs Rachael Giles
Date Deposited: 02 May 2023 11:16
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 11:16

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