Thank you, Aaron! I think your observation that animal product consumption differs systematically between restaurants, grocery stores and other venues is likely accurate. This study mitigated the problem by selecting for campuses where most of the food purchased can be tracked via the dining services, thus providing a more complete picture of individual diets. Of course, these diets may not be representative of the general population but at least a more complete picture of individual diet reduces selection biases between food venues. That said, we didn’t find many campuses that met those selection criteria, so future field research will likely need to consider the limitation of sampling only a possibly biased portion of diet.
Thank you for your thoughtful questions, Aaron!
1. I don’t know of any existing funding opportunities, although I’d say more research with non-self-reported dietary outcomes would be worthwhile and volunteer researchers with the appropriate skills could certainly be involved there. Volunteers with connections at colleges, universities, restaurants or grocery stores could also be valuable for building collaborations. There may also be as-of-yet undiscovered allies in advocating for transparency in the food system, perhaps among groups fighting obesity or generally supporting public health.
2. I did some research on personal food tracking, specifically food diaries where people track their consumption. I think reactivity is the most significant problem: keeping a food diary in itself has been demonstrated as an effective weight loss strategy (p6 Thompson and Subar 2013). That said, keeping a food diary could be interesting to explore as an intervention of its own right. For measurement, however, there has been less validation work on food diaries, likely because they are so onerus to participants, causing noncompliance and dropout. Using an existing population tracking their diets would be prone to selection bias since participants are likely already health conscious. Recording photos of food, rather than written diaries, is also being explored and may mitigate reactivity by requiring less work from participants, although subsequently analyzing the photos may prove challenging. (“Pledging a meat-free month: An experience sampling study with smartphones” https://researchfund.animalcharityevaluators.org/funded-projects/)
Thank you for this resource, Evan! Several pieces I haven’t seen before here.
I understand, thank you!
Very interesting results and glad to see more comprehensive research quantify people’s priors on the promise of a broad array of interventions! Will the anonymized raw data be made available for further analysis? I’d especially be interested to see a clustering analysis of where people fall on these issues.