New research presented today at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference reveals that men who want to reduce meat consumption are embarrassed to eat vegetarian or vegan food in public.
The study, led by Dr Emma Roe and Dr Paul Hurley from the University of Southampton, reveals that even men who don't like meat, find it upsets their digestion, or have been asked by a doctor to reduce consumption, still find it difficult to choose the vegetarian or vegan option when in public with other men.
Men who took part in the year-long research say they have experienced social isolation among groups of male friends and acquaintances after reducing their intake of animal protein.
As part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, three groups of men – ‘green’ minded men, exercising men, and men who receive emergency food aid – were encouraged to cook and eat meatless meals together. The researchers found that participants valued eating vegetarian and vegan food in social environments, and that this was a way of 'normalising' their choice.
Dr Emma Roe told the conference:
“What we have discovered is that many men are interested in eating less meat, they just need social permission to do so – and as more men make vegetarian and vegan choices, that permission is becoming more readily available.”
Age plays a factor in how much meat men are eating. Middle aged men in particular mentioned that they are unable to eat as much meat or dairy as they could previously. This was mainly due to health reasons, but other reasons were also triggering a reduction in meat consumption.
Animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, yet delivers only 18% of our calories, and is responsible for 14% of current global greenhouse gas emissions.
As evidence shows that eating less meat is vital to a more sustainable future food supply, unpicking this strong cultural association between men and meat is an important aspect to global food security research.
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2. Dr Emma Roe and Dr Paul Hurley’s presentation is taking place on Wednesday 29 August at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference at Cardiff University. The conference is being held from August 28 – 31. It is the largest geography conference in Europe, with more than 360 sessions and 1,300 papers being presented. Full details on the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018 can be found at https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/
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