The present qualitative study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of participants’ attitudes, knowledge, perceived effectiveness (a person’s belief that his/her behaviour can contribute to environmental preservation) and behaviours relating to a sustainable eating pattern.
One-to-one interviews (either face-to-face or by telephone) were conducted following a structured interview schedule, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive thematic analysis in NVivo 10.
Victorian (Australia) adult participants recruited via online advertisements, flyers on community advertisement boards and letterbox drops.
Twenty-four participants (mean age 40 years, range 19–69 years; thirteen female, eleven male) were interviewed.
Participants reported that environmental impact was not an important influence on their food choice. Participants displayed limited knowledge about a sustainable eating pattern, with most unaware of the environmental impact of food-related behaviours. Most participants believed sustainable eating would be only slightly beneficial to the environment. Participants reported undertaking limited sustainable food behaviours currently and were more willing to undertake a food behaviour if they perceived additional benefits, such as promoting health or supporting the local community.
The study suggests consumers need further information about a sustainable eating pattern and the environmental impact of food choice. The findings highlight some of the barriers that will need to be addressed when promoting this kind of eating pattern and that a range of interventions will be necessary.