Taste and health concerns trump anticipated stigma as barriers to vegetarianism.


Rosenfeld DL and Tomiyama AJ

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Meat-eaters report that a number of barriers inhibit them from going vegetarian-for example, perceiving vegetarian diets to be inadequately nutritious, too expensive, unfamiliar, inconvenient, inadequately tasty, and socially stigmatizing. However, research identifying which barriers uniquely predict meat-eaters' openness to going vegetarian is lacking from the current literature. In the present research, accordingly, we conducted a highly powered, preregistered study (N = 579) to identify which barriers uniquely predict openness to going vegetarian. We focused specifically on anticipated vegetarian stigma, given recent qualitative evidence highlighting this attitude as an influential barrier. That is, do meat-eaters resist going vegetarian because they fear that following a vegetarian diet would make them feel stigmatized? Being of younger age, more politically conservative, White, and residing in a rural community predicted greater anticipated vegetarian stigma among meat-eaters. Frequentist and Bayesian analyses converged, however, to suggest that anticipated vegetarian stigma was not a significant predictor of openness to going vegetarian. The strongest predictors of openness were perceived tastiness and perceived healthfulness of vegetarian dieting. These factors-but not anticipated stigma-furthermore explained why men (compared to women) and political conservatives (compared to liberals) were particularly resistant to going vegetarian.