Australian Generation Z and the nexus between climate change and alternative proteins
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Scientific evidence shows that current food systems are impacting the planet in ways that are unsustainable and detrimental to human health. Various technological advances have been made in response, one of them being the development of new food products known as novel alternative proteins, including cultured meat, plant-based meat analogues, algae- and insect-based foods. The future of these alternative proteins to a large extent depends on consumer acceptance from young people. This study investigates the attitudes of Australia’s adult Generation Z (Gen Z), born between 1995 and 2003, regarding climate change and more sustainable food choices. Gen Z is a diverse, important and trendsetting group known for organising globally on causes related to climate, social justice and health. The study of Australia’s Gen Z is based on a 2021 cross-national survey in the main Australian cities. It shows that, although 86% of the participants perceive climate change as anthropogenic, only 38% believe that livestock-based foods are contributing significantly to global warming and environmental deterioration. The paper discusses the implications for Gen Z and novel alternative proteins given that the majority of Australia’s young people has low awareness of the environmental impacts of food systems and dietary choices.
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