One in three meat-eaters who follow Meat Free Monday (MFM) for five years and beyond turn vegetarian, a new study claims.
Research by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and MFM has found that more than 30 per cent of those who engaged with the programme for five years or more stopped eating meat, with 20 per cent of those who engaged for three to five-years.
The MFM campaign, which was founded by Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella in 2009, encourages people to eat a plant-based diet once a week. The idea is to help reduce their meat consumption in order to slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health.
The study is published in the journal Appetite, which can be accessed here. It questioned 655 people who were registered on the MFM website as meat eaters, followed up by 18 in-depth interviews.
Paul said: “By skipping animal products one day a week, the environmental impact is substantial. For example, if every person in Great Britain skipped meat for one day, it would reduce our carbon footprint by more than if every car was taken off the road for a whole day! For those people who end up moving to a completely veggie diet, there is obviously an even greater environmental impact.”
Dr Richard de Visser, Reader in Psychology at BSMS and lead author, added: “Our study showed that behaviour change campaigns like MFM are most effective if they can maintain people’s active engagement. We now need to work on developing the best ways to keep this engagement, through providing the kind of support, information and advice that participants want.”
One of the participants of the study, Nick, said: “We did it a few Mondays in a row. And then it turned into sort of most weekdays and then all weekdays. And then all weekdays and most weekends. And then, even when I was eating out, I was just choosing not to eat meat as well.”
Another participant, Adam, said: “You don’t start taking up jogging and run a marathon straight away: you break yourself in gradually. I think that’s possibly the way to do it, and it certainly was to me.”
The Beatles legend is the latest high-profile music star to back the global vaccination effort, with Ariana Grande recently urging her fans to step forward and receive their jabs.
Posting on his social media channels on August 2, McCartney shared an image of himself receiving one of his jabs. “BE COOL. GET VAX’D,” he captioned the image.