by Nathanael Johnson, Grist
You probably would’ve never heard of the fuzzy little fruit known as the kiwi if it hadn’t had a Norma Jean Mortenson moment and changed its name from “Chinese gooseberry.” Same with avocado, which achieved superstardom after dropping the name “alligator pear.” Can you imagine millennials emptying their bank accounts to buy alligator-pear toast?
Marketing works. But you wouldn’t know it from the strategy employed by environmentalists trying to get people to eat less meat. That strategy: Spread the message that a lot more people could eat with a lot less land if we simply cut back our meat-eating habit. And if it doesn’t stick? Beat people repeatedly over the head with the same message.
It’s a failed effort by any measure. A measly 5 percent of Americans call themselves vegetarians, and more than 80 percent of vegetarians eventually return to the way of the flesh. Americans ate a record amount of meat last year — some 72 billion pounds (though on the bright side, we are shifting to less environmentally harmful meats).