Newcastle Business School Studentships 2010 in Dietary Change, Northumbria University, UK

Newcastle Business School Studentships 2010 in Dietary Change, Northumbria University, UK

Project Title
Dietary change – The role of meat free choice(s) in addressing food security, consumer behaviour, marketing barriers and enablers. (Our Ref: RS10-NBS01)
Summary of Research Project
Food 2030, the UK Government’s strategic response to developing a sustainable food supply chain, suggests a need to reduce our consumption of meat and its impact on our health and the environment. To date, accounting for the environmental impact of foodstuffs has primarily seen the advancement and streamlining of supply-side life-cycle analysis techniques to measure embedded carbon emissions of products. A notable outcome of much of this research in the food industry has been the realisation that meat products are significantly carbon-inefficient when compared to, for example, grain or vegetable products (e.g. Williams et al., 2006). However, in addition to this, ‘meat alternative’ products may also be associated with other win-win opportunities across the health and sustainability agenda, such as lower fat content, reduced salt, reduced water use or a smaller land use footprint.
Such findings have led to recommendations for reductions in the meat content of diets (e.g. IPCC, 2008). Although wholesale changes in consumer diets or consumption habits is an unlikely achievable goal in the short term, it is possible that improving demand for meat-substituting products could provide a means for better achievement of sustainability and quality of life targets. Despite growing media coverage of these issues consumer uptake of meat free choices within the UK remains limited. There is a clear need to understand the consumer within this emerging debate and the issues that drive market demand and /or create disengagement.
This research, co-sponsored by Premier Foods Ltd., seeks to investigate the factors that influence market demand for meat substitutes and meat free products. Segments of consumers that share common behavioural characteristics will be identified to provide a better understanding individual consumer preferences. Specific research questions that may be addressed in the project include:
What understanding do UK consumers have of current and emerging the issues of food security – what’s hot and what’s not?
What are the barriers and enabling factors that influence behavioural change in the meat free sector?
How can consumers be segmented in terms of both attitude and behaviour?
What voluntary, policy, and other alternative mechanisms could be developed or structured to influence behavioural change in this sector.
The outcomes will be linked with those from other similar on-going projects being undertaken by the co-sponsor including work at Imperial College and Liverpool University that are examining the impact of dietary change on health and environment.
Full project description
Details of research training to be undertaken as part of this project
The student will be expected to undertake a tailored programme of training by attending subject specific training delivered within the School and generic skills development training delivered by the Graduate School. Students will also attend compulsory training sessions related to their milestones. They will be expected to reflect upon their training requirements by using their training needs plan.
Supervisory Team & Research Environment
Newcastle Business School
Research Centre:
This studentship is a jointly supervised venture between the Marketing group and the Supply Chain group:
Professor Fraser McLeay & Professor David Oglethorpe
Funding Notes:
The studentship will provide a stipend of £13590 for a maximum of three years and will cover fees up to the equivalent of full time, home PhD fees for the same period.
Informal Enquiries
Enquiries regarding this studentship can be made by email to Professor David Oglethorpe:
Applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree (in a relevant subject) from a British higher education institution, or equivalent. Students who are not UK/EU residents are eligible to apply, provided they hold the relevant academic qualifications (together with an IELTS score of at least 7.0).
How to Apply
Further details on the University’s Research Studentship Scheme can be found on our website:
You should apply using the School’s Application Form, available from:
Applications should be submitted to:
Deadline for applications: 31st October 2010
Interview date (if known): November 2010
Start Date: January 2011

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