We have been exploring sustainability.
We started by talking to vegetarians and vegans, but our work is also relevant for questions about recycling, re-use etc.
One question we asked was whether vegetarians want foods that look and taste like meat?
To find out, we conducted in-depth interviews with vegetarians and vegans for a recent conference. Using our sensemaking interview technique, we discovered that this is a complex market, where it is risky to make assumptions without really understanding people's real motivations and the inner conflicts they are feeling. Some people avoid meat to help the planet, but some people avoid meat because the idea offends them. Only the first of these would be interested in a plant-based meat substitute that looks like meat. There are some great insights here about the semiotics of sustainability with real implications for the packaging and branding of sustainable foods in grocery.