‘Climavorism’ is on the rise: New research

According to Kearney’s annual Earth Day Survey (2023), “The environment is increasingly playing a role in purchasing decisions, with 42% of consumers stating they always or nearly always consider it. This figure, the highest on record, was an 18 percentage point increase from the prior year. The report also said the cost of more environmentally friendly products is becoming less of a barrier. When asked what prevents them from buying products with sustainability claims, 46% of consumers said the cost was a primary factor, a decline of four percentage points from 2022 and seven percentage points from 2019.” (Casey, 2023)

Kearney’s new Earth Day survey of 1,000 US consumers saw awareness of the environmental impacts of their food choices significantly increase since their last survey. Figure 1 [see below] shows that 42 percent of 2023 respondents reported always or nearly always considering environmental impacts when making a purchasing decision, a historic high and an 18 percentage point increase over 2022. “ They observed that “This is a clear signal that our observation last year that ‘climavorism’ was growing from the “consumer fringe” to the heart of the mass market is becoming a reality.” (Kearney, 2023)

“Kearney said ‘climavorism’ — which it defines as “actively making food choices based on climate impacts with the intent to benefit the planet” — is less sensitive to price. The survey of 1,000 consumers found cost is “decreasing as a barrier to purchasing products claiming environmental benefits,” despite persistent inflation across food categories.” Keaney’s 2023 Earth Day survey also reported that consumers believe that producers and food manufacturers should be the most responsible for faster adoption of environmentally-friendly food choices” (Kearney, 2023). Among the 42% of consumers who said food producers should bear the responsibility, 54% said food manufacturers should play the largest role, compared to 25% for grocery stores and retailers.” (Casey, 2023)

A study published in the journal Nutrients titled “Modern Diets and the Health of Our Planet: An Investigation into the Environmental Impacts of Food Choices” (2023) reported that:

“The diets found to have the lowest environmental impacts were the vegan, climatarian, and Mediterranean diets. These low-carbon-footprint diets can likely be attributed to a reduced reliance on ruminant meat (cattle and sheep) and processed food consumption, while diets with high carbon footprints are more dependent on ruminant meat and saturated fat. Moderate consumption of meats such as chicken, pork, and fish in conjunction with an emphasis on locally grown fruits and vegetables can be maintained without adversely affecting the planetary carbon footprint and with the added benefit of promoting good health. Thus, making simple substitutions within each individual’s diet can be advertised as an effective approach to collectively lower the environmental impact in tandem with improving health and longevity.” (Dixon et al., 2023)

Four Scenarios for Rapid Adoption of ‘Climavorism’

Based on its 2023 survey results, Kearney proposes “Four scenarios for rapid adoption of climavorism” which include:

Scenario A: “A soybean a day keeps the apocalypse away”

Scenario B: The long clammy arm of the legislator is grabbing your plate”

Scenario C: “Capitalism anyone?” and

Scenario D: “Mother Earth called, and she isn’t happy with us.”

Learn more about all four of these four ‘climavorism’ scenarios at:


With regard to Kearney’s Scenario A, “A soybean a day keeps the apocalypse away,” be sure to pay close attention to the details in this proposed scenario. Why?  

As reported by Forest 500, a project of Global Canopy (Thomson & Fontes, 2022), the vast majority of the world’s soy produced globally is used for animal feed, so it is a hidden ingredient in meat (e.g., poultry and pigs), fish, and dairy products. Harwatt et al. (2022) and Ritchie & Roser (2021) reported that 77% of soy production is used for animal feed. Ritchie & Roser also point out that “Just 7% of soy is used directly for human food products such as tofu, soy milk, edamame beans, and tempeh.” (Ritchie and Roser, 2021). Thus, if you don’t want to contribute to the ‘soybean apocalypse’ then consume soybeans in a form that is meant for human consumption and not those soybeans that are produced for use as animal feed.  The bottom line: to contribute to sustainable food systems, consume most of your soy in the form of soy milk, tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame, soy nuts, and other soy products meant for human consumption.

The Role of Government in Promoting ‘Climavorism’

Recently, “The Danish Climate Council, an independent adviser to Denmark’s government, has recommended a reduction in meat consumption to help the country meet its climate goals.”

“The council said that two-thirds of the meat consumed by Danes should be replaced by plant-based foods, and suggested that the products with the highest carbon footprint should be taxed. A 33% tax is recommended for beef, which is one of the most high-emission foods.”

“The advice was published as part of an annual review, aimed at helping Denmark achieve its legally binding target of a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). According to the Danish Climate Council, annual emissions could be cut by up to 3.9 million tons of CO2-equivalents if everyone reduced their meat consumption by the suggested amount. In Denmark, consumption of animal-based foods is more than twice the global average.” (Vegconomist, 2023)

On a more positive note, in 2021, “over half of Danes were said to be looking to eat less meat. The same year, $90 million in subsidies were earmarked for Danish farmers producing plant-based foods, with the aim of aiding the transition to a more sustainable food system.” (Vegconomist, 2023)


Casey C. More than 40% of consumers factor in sustainability when purchasing food, survey finds. Food Dive. April 21, 2023. Available at: https://www.fooddive.com/news/more-than-40-of-consumers-factor-in-sustainability-when-purchasing-food-s/648201/

Four scenarios for rapid adoption of climavorism: New research. Kearney Global Management Consulting. April 21, 2023. Available at: https://www.kearney.com/consumer-retail/article/-/insights/four-scenarios-for-rapid-adoption-of-climavorism

Dixon, K.A.; Michelsen, M.K.; Carpenter, C.L. Modern diets and the health of our planet: An investigation into the environmental impacts of food choices. Nutrients 202315, 692. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030692

Forest 500 – Global Canopy. https://forest500.globalcanopy.org/companies/

Thomson E, Fontes C. The companies ignoring the human costs of deforestation. UK, Forest 500 (a Global Canopy Project); July 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2023. Available at: https://forest500.org/sites/default/files/f500_human_rights_briefing_final.pdf

Ritchie H. Roser M. Soy – “Forests and Deforestation.” Our World in Data. 2021. Available at: www.ourworldindata.org

Harwatt H, Wetterberg K, Giritharan A, Benton T. Aligning food systems with climate and biodiversity targets. Assessing the suitability of policy action over the next decade. London, Chatham House; October 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2023. Available at: https://www.chathamhouse.org/2022/10/aligning-food-systems-climate-and-biodiversity-targets

Danish Climate Council Recommends Meat Tax & Replacing Two-Thirds of Meat With Plants. March 2, 2023. Vegconomist. Available at: https://vegconomist.com/sustainability-environment/danish-climate-council-meat-tax/

Published by greengrass50

My name is Christine McCullum-Gomez, PhD, RDN. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist with expertise in environmental nutrition, food and nutrition policy, food and nutrition security, food justice, chronic disease prevention, regenerative & organic agriculture, and sustainable healthy dietary patterns. Currently, I serve on the Editorial Review Board and as a Column Editor for the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. I live in Bogota, Colombia with my husband, two teenagers (boy-girl twins), and our dog Honey. My website is: www.sustainablerdn.com. You can follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/cmccullumgomez/

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