Finding Common Ground: Meat Reduction Messaging

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Finding Common Ground: Meat Reduction Messaging

How do you encourage and celebrate meat-reduction efforts in ways that will be receptive to meat eaters but won’t alienate vegetarians or vegans? Let’s apply common ground messaging theory to answer this question.

  • Triggers: Meat eaters can get defensive if they feel they are being judged by or compared to vegetarians or vegans. Vegetarians and vegans can feel uncomfortable with the idea of anyone consuming animals. Yikes.
  • Common ground: Both groups are motivated to reduce suffering and want to feel validated for their efforts.
  • What to avoid: Anything that hints at ‘absolutes’ may alienate meat eaters. Anything that draws attention to the fact that some people continue to consume any animal products may alienate vegetarians and vegans.
  • What to highlight: Narrow the focus to what meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans can all share in common: a single plant-based meal. Focus on plant-based foods, animals, and positive impact. Make food choices inclusive. Draw attention to tangible impacts of progress. Assign any judgement to a shared ‘enemy’ (industry).

Don’t say:

“Every piece of meat is responsible for animal cruelty.”

“By limiting meat meals to just a few times a week, you can help save animals from suffering.”

“While people continue to buy cruel products, industries will continue to sell them.”

Do say:

“Every plant-based meal saves animals from cruelty.”

“By cutting out or cutting back on meat, you will help save animals from suffering.”

“As people buy more plant-based foods, industries are learning that cruelty is bad for business.”

More examples

Here are some other scenarios where common ground theory can help make messaging more impactful and inclusive:

From: Find common ground

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Karen Nilsen

Hi there! I’m Karen. I’m on a mission to reach my former self. Had I known 10 years ago what I know today, I could have achieved more good, made fewer mistakes, and had more weekends. Every time we share what works, we win faster. Let’s create digital experiences that move people — that grow our base and fuel our movements. Are you with me? Please share this with someone you know who wants to up their digital game!

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