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University of Oxford researchers will be at Oxford’s Westgate Shopping Centre from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th June and they want you to Meat Your Persona.

Man eating a burger © Shutterstock

Researchers want to meet everyone from the BLT’s (meat for breakfast, lunch and tea), to ‘clean and lean’ protein fiends, unfaithful vegetarians and people who just can’t resist their Saturday night kebab to understand more about Britain’s meat-eating habits. They will guide visitors through a simple three-step process to find out which of twelve ‘Meat Personas’ they fit into (vegan options available) and the impact their relationship with meat could have on their health and the environment.

Lucy Yates, Public Engagement Co-ordinator for the Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) research project that is running Meat Your Persona said, “The public conversation about meat eating is being increasingly framed as a black-and-white issue; vegan or carnivore, plant-based food fad or grass-fed traditionalist. However, the reality of daily meat-eating in the UK and its impacts are more complex.

“Replacing 100 kcals a day of red or processed meat with yoghurt or cheese could reduce someone’s risk of heart disease but increasing numbers of intensive farms to supply more dairy products could have adverse environmental impacts."

Eating only one serving of red meat a week could help keep planetary warming under 2oC, but low-meat diets have been linked to anaemia. Every person and their habits are different and scientists are here to help people make informed choices that are right for them not dictate a mythical one-size-fits-all approach.

As well as helping visitors get to know their diets and meat consumption better, they will also be invited to take the ‘Would you rather?’ challenge to put their habits into perspective. They’ll also be able to make a diet pledge customised to their persona and what they want from their diets.

The joint head of LEAP, Professor Susan Jebb, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said, “This is a great chance for us to get away from our desks and talk to people about what they eat. Most people have strong views on what they eat or don’t eat, and why, so we’re looking forward to some lively conversations. Most people recognise that the way we eat today isn’t ideal for health or the environment, but there isn’t an easy solution. Talking to people about their ideas and what matters to them brings new insights to inform our research and helps our team to refine the way we talk to people about our research.”

Meat Your Persona runs 10am to 6pm from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th June and 11am to 5pm on Sunday 30th June at Westgate Oxford.

LEAP is funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet Our Health Programme. Meat Your Persona has been developed in collaboration with creative agency The Liminal Space and space in the Wesgate Centre has been provided by Landsec.

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