What Makes People Go Vegan? This Research Gives Some Strong Clues
Positive health messages provide the strongest motivation for people to go vegan, but being prompted by ethical concerns is more likely to lead to longer-term commitment to the lifestyle.
These are among the findings of new research carried out for the Vegan Society by professor Claire Parkinson, Dr Richard Twine and Naomi Griffin from Edge Hill University’s Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS).
The findings also reveal:
- 1 per cent of participants had friends and family who were vegan
- 9 per cent of participants had eaten a vegan meal
- 84 per cent of non-vegan participants thought veganism could be a healthy way of eating
- 84 per cent of non-vegan participants also didn’t think meat was essential for a healthy diet
Prof Parkinson said: “The research revealed that non-vegans were more receptive to health messages about veganism than to environmental or ethics messages. It also showed how important family dynamics are in establishing and maintaining food practices.
“It was interesting to find out that celebrity endorsement of veganism was viewed with such a high degree of scepticism by study participants, but our findings also suggested that vegan sportspeople and celebrities are important in challenging stereotypes around vegans’ health and strength.”
Dr Twine added: “Some of the most interesting findings of our study are in the way food practices come to constitute everyday routines which can be resistant to change. Family relations were seen to be both barriers and pathways to veganism.
“Some of the most interesting findings of our study are in the way food practices come to constitute everyday routines which can be resistant to change. Family relations were seen to be both barriers and pathways to veganism”.
“It was also interesting to see that vegetarian practice was becoming ‘pulled toward veganism’. Barely any of our vegetarian interviewees only excluded meat from their diet but had also begun to exclude other animal products.”
The Pathways to Veganism study, the first of its kind, questioned meat-eaters and vegetarians to understand how non-vegans perceive veganism and which pro-vegan messages are the most effective.
Dr Lorna Brocksopp, Research Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “This has been an excellent opportunity for The Vegan Society to be proactively involved in a piece of academic research which will have a direct impact on professional practice. The findings will be instrumental in shaping our future campaigns and research directions and it has been a pleasure to collaborate with CfHAS.”
Further details from the research will be available in May from www.thevegansociety.com
About the author: Jim Mason
Jim Manson is editor-in-chief of Diversified Communications UK‘s natural and organic publishing portfolio. He’s written widely on environment and development issues for specialist magazines and national media, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, and World Bank Urban Age.
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