… Arla found that ‘instead of relying on facts’ about the food production process and ‘considering in detail’ what makes a sustainable diet and what food groups are ‘good’ for us, 'snap decisions' are being made based ‘largely on popular opinion’…
Half of Gen Z ‘ashamed’ to order milk in public: Arla probes how social media and ‘cancel culture’ shape attitudes to dairy
By Katy Askew, Food Navigator
With an increasing number of consumers looking to make more sustainable food choices based on what they read on social media, Arla decided to study what impact this has on attitudes to dairy. “The rise in cancel culture is playing too much of an influence in the way that we make decisions relating to our diets,” the dairy cooperative concludes.
Almost half of UK shoppers, 49%, say they are willing to make ‘big changes’ to their diets based on what they read on social media. Indeed, 34% of people admit to making choices about their diet based ‘purely’ on information they see on social networks, new research commissioned by dairy farmer cooperative Arla revealed.
Three-quarters – 75% - of participants in the One Poll study said they are concerned about the future of the world we live in and 12% claim to consider the 'environmental impact of food alone' to inform purchase decisions. But, with two-in-five of us saying we are unsure of what makes a ‘sustainable diet’, the way that the discussion is framed on social media has a significant influence.
Dairy faces the court of public opinion
Arla found that ‘instead of relying on facts’ about the food production process and ‘considering in detail’ what makes a sustainable diet and what food groups are ‘good’ for us, 'snap decisions' are being made based ‘largely on popular opinion’.
For example, 18% of people said they rely on social media as a legitimate source of information, with 15% reporting that they consume news through memes. Meanwhile, a significant number of people – 36% - are passing what they read on social media off as their own opinions, amplifying messages that are already popular in digital networks.
It appears that consumers from Generation Z – born from the late 1990s to the 2010s – are particularly influenced by this dynamic. In total, 55% of this cohort said they use social media to inform dietary decisions. Although the data showed that 70% of Gen Z would prefer to continue to drink dairy, 57% said they plan to give it up in the next year.
A total of 49% of Gen Z-ers said they ‘felt ashamed’ to order dairy in public in front of their peers. This compares to 8% of people across all age groups. As a result, 29% said they order dairy alternatives in public and revert to dairy at home. Across age groups, only 12% of consumers admitted doing this.
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