- Men are less likely to be vegan because the diet is not considered masculine
- But a vegan diet seems less emasculating if it uses more intense language.
Men are less likely to be vegan than women because the diet is not considered masculine, a study suggests.
There is evidence that men are much less willing than women to give up steaks and barbecue for a trendy vegan diet.
To understand why, researchers asked 539 people to rate four vegan foods on a scale of how suitable they were for men or women.
The vegan burger, carbonara, goulash and salad were described, on average, as more appropriate for consumption by women than men.
But the study suggests that a vegan diet might seem less emasculating to men if it used stronger language.
Men are less likely to be vegan than women because the diet is not considered masculine, study suggests (file image)
Half of the people in the study were given masculine descriptions of the food, such as a “bestial burger” instead of an “amazing burger” or a hearty goulash instead of a gourmet one.
Male-friendly descriptions of the food included the words smoky, greasy and juicy, with the burger and carbonara being described as a “huge portion” for “even the biggest appetite.”
People who received manly descriptions of vegan foods rated them as less suitable for women than men who received neutral descriptions such as “creamy” and “delicious.”
This suggests that more masculine marketing of vegan foods could make them appear less feminine.
But even though people considered vegan foods to be less feminine when they had masculine names and descriptions, they still rated the foods as slightly more suitable for women than men.
Unfortunately, they were also no more likely to say that they would like to eat the vegan food, that they would be willing to try it, or that they thought it would taste good.
Alma Scholz, who led the study from the University of Würzburg but now works at Stockholm University, said: “Men might be less inclined to consume vegan foods due to the need to appear masculine.”
“Perhaps if we used even more masculine language to describe this food, we could make men more willing to eat it.”
Figures show that only 3.82 per cent of men are vegan, while almost one in 10 (9.4 per cent) women follow the diet.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Communication, asked people to rate the suitability of vegan food for men and women from one to seven.
A score of four meant it was not particularly suitable for either sex, a higher score meant it was more suitable for men, and a score less than four meant it was more suitable for women.
When a burger was described to half the volunteers using neutral words, the average rating was 3.68.
But the rating rose to 3.98 from people, who were described in more masculine words, meaning it was almost considered a food equally suitable for both men and women.
Men seem very sensitive to whether food could make them look less of a man, according to the study’s findings.
Women’s ratings of whether vegan food is more suitable for men or women did not change significantly when masculine descriptions were used, but men’s did.
The study’s authors note that meat is culturally associated with strength and masculinity, which could make a vegan diet a tough sell.
Switching to plant-based meat can help the environment, experts say
Switching to plant-based products that mimic real meat can help the planet, scientists say.
Livestock farming at the current rate damages the environment in different ways.
Cows, pigs and other farm animals release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.
Raising livestock also means converting forests to agricultural land, which means trees that absorb CO2 are being cut down, further contributing to climate change.
Juicy Marbles is just one of the companies creating plant-based vegan products, which are increasingly taking up more space on supermarket shelves.
Factory farms and crops also require enormous amounts of water: 542 liters of water are used to produce a single chicken breast.
Additionally, nitrogen-based fertilizer used on crops increases nitrous oxide emissions.
Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
These fertilizers can also end up in rivers, further increasing pollution.
Scientists have recently suggested that bringing plant-based meat into public institutions such as schools and prisons may help trigger a broader transition among the general public.
“Favoring alternative proteins in public procurement policies worldwide could help advance turning points in their adoption,” they say in a report.