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STUDY: Motives for veganism and the influence of social media

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Although the study results showed that animal suffering was the most named motive in the decision to follow a vegan lifestyle (76.5% of respondents), animal related motives do not play such an important role within social media. Most vegans seem to be more motivated to use social media as a source of information about food and health related content and to follow vegan influencers and celebrities.

LISA HORN: Veganism is a lifestyle choice and movement that is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the use of social media. The number of persons deciding to go vegan is growing and the decision itself is being influenced by several factors… This article focuses on the reasons consumers follow a vegan lifestyle and deals with the research question “Why do people go vegan?”… Whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic, the aim of this study was to identify which are the most common motives when it comes to this decision. Another objective was to analyze the influence of social media in following a vegan diet.

An online questionnaire was conducted at the beginning of May 2022. The target group was represented by people who are following a vegan diet, 34 participants being considered in the results. Three motives were mentioned the most: animal welfare (76.5% of the respondents), health aspects (73.5% of the respondents) and environmental concerns (41.2% of the respondents).  An open question revealed that aspects of well-being and health were considered as the main motive to follow a vegan diet (32.4% of respondents). The study also reveals several insights about the social media usage of vegans. They are mostly interested in food and health related content and use the platforms to inform themselves about veganism. The research findings imply that vegans who frequently use social media are often motivated by health-related factors…

Overall, the results showed that animal suffering was the most named motive in the decision to follow a vegan diet, followed by health-related motives. These results of the survey confirm the outcomes of the studies of Janssen et al. and Kalte. However, environmental concerns were only named by less than half of the participants. Compared to the study by Ngo et al. who found out that reference groups also play an important role in the decision to follow a vegan diet, our survey showed that almost 30% of the respondents do not know friends or family members who are vegan. However, 76.5% of the respondents follow accounts on social media which are related to veganism, including influencers and celebrities. These can also be seen as a reference group since social media user perceive them as friends and built para-social relationships with them…

Moreover, our study results reveal that most of the participants consume food-related content on social media and 55.9% of the respondents are consuming health-related content. These results provide insights about the interest of vegans, since the target group of this study were people following a vegan diet. It can be concluded that content about vegan food and health aspects of veganism also influences consumer’s motivation to follow a vegan diet. Added to that, 67.6% of the participants stated that they use social media to inform themselves about veganism.

Interestingly, the results show that even though vegans are using social media as a source of information they do not use it to talk about veganism with others. This assumption is also supported by our findings, that mostly videos and documentaries on social media impacted the participants to follow a vegan diet. These findings are important since previous research of social media and veganism by Phua et al. and Pilař et al. was only based on the analysis of hashtags and did not include further insights about the consumer behavior. Due to our findings, health related motives seem to become more important while animal related motives do not play such an important role within social media. We therefore recommend exploring the dynamics of motives for following a vegan diet on social media networks in future research. SOURCE…

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