Eat Meat? Reserve a Seat
What if we stopped eating meat today, through the mere introduction of a new social norm? The problem with meat consumption is not that consumers want to eat meat all the time, it's meat being the standard option on the Western menu, and people behaving according to this norm.
Inverse the norm. How? By introducing the principle 'Eat Meat? Reserve A Seat' (EMRAS), similar to expressions like RSVP and BYOB. Currently, vegans, vegetarians, people with allergies or intolerances have to communicate their diet choice, and the default option is meat. With the new norm, plantbased foods are the standard and meat is still available upon request. Research has shown that meat consumption declines by 84% if restaurants present a meat-free menu with a subtitle that reads 'for meat options inquire with our personnel'. Chronic heart disease and obesity can also be lowered through lower meat intake. With a minimum change in behavior, a maximum reduction of greenhouse gases and a healthier diet are achieved. Similar to how the roles of smokers and non-smokers have changed, EMRAS reverses the norm of what is good and what is bad. Meat and dairy production are very polluting and resource-intensive industries, accounting for 23% of Global Greenhouse Gases. By making the choice for plantbased food standard we direct proteins straight to people's plates and they don't even have to think about it! A summary of the idea: 1) Peer pressure works the best. 2) Cultural norms are the root of the problem. 3) The principle can be applied internationally.