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Exploring heterogeneity in meat consumption and eating out by using a latent class model

Christian Ritzel (Economic Modelling and Policy Analysis, Agroscope, Ettenhausen, Switzerland)
Stefan Mann (Socioeconomics, Agroscope, Ettenhausen, Switzerland)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 15 March 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




While it is incontestable that eating in restaurants leads to a higher energy intake than eating at home, this paper explores the even more environmentally relevant connection between meat intake and the location of eating.


Based on secondary data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the authors apply a latent class model (LCM), combining latent profile analysis (LPA) and regression analysis. Different (latent) consumer classes are modeled based (1) on share of meat consumption and (2) share of eating out by means of LPA, while class-specific socio-demographic characteristics are estimated by means of ordered logistic regression.


Results of the LPA reveal four (latent) consumer classes with regard to the share of meat consumption and the share of eating out. One class consists mostly of male meat lovers with a high share of eating out, which, however, only represents 7% of the sample. A much larger class represents an affluent social group that consumes the majority of food outside of the home but does not consume significantly more meat than the large group of moderates who mostly eat at home. The fourth class mostly consists of children with a very low intake of meat.


By applying a LCM, the authors shed some light on the relation between meat consumption and eating out. The authors demonstrated that commonly assumed relations, such as men eating more meat than women, do not necessarily apply. Similar findings apply to factors potentially influencing meat consumption, such as education, marital status and income.



Conflict of interest: The authors have no known conflicts of interest to declare.

Funding: This research received no external funding.


Ritzel, C. and Mann, S. (2023), "Exploring heterogeneity in meat consumption and eating out by using a latent class model", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 1, pp. 132-144.



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