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Antibiotics Issue May Impact Meatless Movement  

Illuminate Research Profiles Those Most Concerned about Antibiotic Resistance

While researchers work to better understand the cause of people becoming resistant to antibiotics, there are ongoing consumer concerns about the use of antibiotics given to animals in the food system. And, according to new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), online engagement about antibiotic resistance is growing rapidly and could be one of a growing number of factors that drives consumers to reduce or eliminate meat from their diets.

Antibiotic resistance results when bacteria change in ways that reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of drugs – leading to the rise of “superbugs” that are difficult to treat. CFI’s Illuminate™ Digital Cultural Insights tool, which can analyze millions of interactions online in real time, shows there currently are more than 34-million consumers actively engaging on the topic and that it’s gaining traction.

That number could increase to more than 65 million within the next two years. That’s a 92 percent increase.

The Desire to Drive Positive Change

Engaging on antibiotic resistance is one thing; the behaviors that result is another.

Consumers most interested in the topic, according to the research profile, are white, educated, middle-class females between the ages of 25 and 40 who want to be viewed as responsible and compassionate and will adjust their way of living according to what they believe is environmentally sustainable.

While they view protein as an important part of a balanced diet and consume meat, milk and eggs, the research shows they’ll consider going meatless due to concerns that production livestock production practices are not responsible and environmentally sustainable, including the use of antibiotics.

This type of consumer wants to be considered a good provider for herself and her family and believes her purchasing decisions can drive positive change.

As a result, she may be more apt to purchase organic products, go meatless or consider new meat alternatives. In addition, she often goes online for recommendations from like-minded peers about her food choices.

Engage in the Conversation

The research unlocks the motivations, fears and beliefs about antibiotic resistance and identifies influencers and preferred brands of engaged consumers – providing a roadmap to understanding where to find them and how best to engage to earn trust.

With engagement on this issue expected to grow dramatically in the next 24 months, it’s an important time to get involved in the conversation.

Illuminate™ Digital Cultural Insights is an evolution of consumer research that can empower a new world of consumer engagement that is more precise, effective and affordable than traditional campaigns. The ability to identify the consumer influencers driving a topic or trend and then producing content we know will align with their values, beliefs and attitudes is a powerful capability. It’s a golden ticket to trust-building opportunities.

CFI members receive in-depth Illuminate reports each month that include detailed research results on important topics and guidance on how to best apply the findings. Upcoming topics include food packaging and chemicals in food. We also offer customized research reports.

If you’re interested in learning more about Illuminate, I’d be happy to connect.

Terry Fleck
Executive Director, CFI
terry.fleck@foodintegrity.org