According to data from the II Great Sustainability Survey in Portugal, conducted by researchers from the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon, more than half (50.6%) of the people surveyed were willing to reduce meat consumption or to follow a plant-based diet (45.1%).

About half (46.6%) were willing to pay more for meat from more sustainable production methods.

The study, coordinated by researchers Luísa Schmidt and Mónica Truninger, said that animal origin products (such as meat and fish) still occupy a central position in the main meals of Portuguese people, as part of what they perceive as a culturally adequate meal, but the respondents were globally willing to change their eating habits and some culturally established practices.

For Luísa Schmidt, the data showed that the issue of health has completely entered the concerns of the Portuguese nationals.

Among the respondents who showed a greater willingness to change their habits, women, respondents with a high level of education (higher education) and residents in metropolitan areas stood out.

Those in the lowest income group probably do not have a budget that allows them to buy meat or fish frequently, reinforcing their diet with more vegetables (usually in the form of soup), the researchers said.

The study also showed that most respondents are familiar with the concept of organic farming.

As for the labelling of products, the Portuguese were not very well informed about the symbols associated with sustainable production practices.

More than half (57%) do not recognise any of the symbols presented in the survey and the most recognised - the organic farming certificate - is only mentioned by 20.9% of respondents.

The study analysed 1,600 surveys of residents in Portugal, over 18 years of age, stratified by region, gender and age and has a 95% confidence interval. It took place between 7 November and 13 December 2018.