IN FOCUS: Meatless Monday participation overstated

Published on: Oct 22, 2013

ACCORDING to a recent analysis by the Animal Agriculture Alliance, the campaign to encourage consumers to go meat-free one day each week has “grossly misrepresented” the participation of U.S. schools, universities, restaurants and foodservice institutions.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the Meatless Monday campaign was launched in 2003 in association with the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future (CLF), and branded as a public health awareness campaign. Its central premise is that giving up meat one day each week is central to improving environmental and human health by reducing total meat consumption.

The Alliance analyzed the campaign’s participation claims, however, and found that the movement was not nearly as widespread as advertised via the Meatless Monday website. After surveying every participant listed by the campaign, the Alliance found:

  • Of 56 K-12 schools listed as participating, more than 64% said they either no longer participated, or never participated in the first place;
  • Of 155 colleges and universities listed as participants, more than 43% no longer or never participated; and,
  • Of all school districts listed as participating, more than 57% no longer take part in the campaign.

Additionally, more than 35% of restaurants and 47% of food service providers listed as part of the campaign said they no longer participate in the program.

Emily Meredith, communications director for the Alliance, discussed the study and its findings in this week’s edition of Feedstuffs In Focus, the podcast of big news in agriculture. Listen here.