Vegetarianism At Yale:A Look into the Values and Customs of Vegetarians at Yale University

First name: 
Last name: 
Class Year: 
John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
Rising global meat consumption in concert with a growing world population has generated increasing amounts of global environmental pressure, while simultaneously reducing the likelihood for a sustainable food supply in the future (Aiking et al. 2006). As a result, several scholars have looked into the feasibility of implementing a transition from meat-based diets to primarily plant-based diets. This study examined Yale students’ potential incentives for practicing vegetarianism and their preferences regarding meat substitution in an effort to guide the future development of meat substitutes, and to explore potential pathways for reducing global meat consumption. Participants were found to adopt vegetarianism most commonly for animal welfare concerns, followed by environmental concerns, and lastly personal health concerns. More specifically, the living conditions of animals, the greenhouse gas emissions, and the higher risk of cardiovascular disease associated with meat-based diets were found to be most influential in convincing participants to adopt vegetarianism. As for meat substitution, participants showed a high level of appreciation for products made to imitate not only the role of meat, but also its sensory quality. The results of this study should be considered when promoting vegetarianism to current meat eaters and in the future development of meat substitutes.