Men are afraid of vegan food, they will eat it for women | Flinders News

Women could hold the key to getting insecure men to try to eat less meat and reap the physical and environmental rewards.

Plant-based meat substitutes on supermarket shelves and fast-food restaurant novelties are becoming more prevalent. But a key problem for the industry, which has now figured out how to produce passable imitations of animal flesh, remains enticing people to try to eat them.

Men who view meat consumption as central to their masculinity are a particularly tough market, and according to recent research, women may be the answer to broadening their horizons.

While they feared their friends would laugh at them for eating a vegan burger or showing up to a barbecue with a round of plant-based patties, if their girlfriend took them to a vegan restaurant, those fears were dissipating.

“It was very interesting to see the importance of romantic relationships, some of the men were saying ‘if she likes it, I will’. There’s a lot of soft power in deciding what kind of food the men would choose” , Curtin said. Dora Marinova, a sustainability professor at the university, told AAP.

Professor Marinova worked with a team of researchers on the acceptance of plant-based meat substitutes among Australian men aged 18-40.

Although they visited vegan restaurants and tried plant-based meats, they were unlikely to introduce them as a permanent part of their diet.

“It was a very social stigma… the perception that real men have to eat meat,” Professor Marinova told AAP.

Three-time Olympic swimmer Matthew Dunn is CEO of Proform Foods, which produces the Meet brand of plant-based alternatives found in Coles supermarkets and HelloFresh meal kits.

He says men in the market have “the most potential resistance”, but the younger generation is more willing to embrace meat alternatives and the environmental and health benefits of doing so.

Consumers venturing into the space “don’t necessarily want to be categorized” based on their meal choice.

“What we try to do with our products is position them in a way that everyone can enjoy them, whether they are vegans, vegetarians, meat reducers, meat eaters and flexitarians…c “It’s basically a broad offering that anyone can venture into anytime once,” Dunn told AAP.

Turning plants into meat substitutes is also “much faster” and uses fewer resources than raising a cow for slaughter, Mr Dunn said.

While men may visit a vegan restaurant at the suggestion of their girlfriend, Professor Marinova says there is always “a constant concern… how other men would perceive them”.

In other areas of sustainability such as renewable energy, “men have been quite proactive” – ​​attracted by new technological solutions and fast-accelerating electric cars.

But changing diets would have a bigger and more immediate impact on tackling climate change.

Methane emissions – the predominant impact of livestock on climate change – dissipate from the atmosphere in two decades, rather than centuries for carbon dioxide.

A “double dividend” could also be achieved by switching to plants rather than livestock, reducing their methane emissions and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere with plant crops and the revegetation of pastures.

The health benefits also came from eating more plants, legumes, “and all those traditional things that we always knew were good for you.”

But if the way food is produced is not changed, especially the emissions associated with livestock, “we are doomed”, says Professor Marinova.

Reframing perceptions of masculinity around environmental protection and men’s health and well-being could help combat their reluctance.

Some of the perceptions humans have might stem from their understanding of the ancient hunter-gatherer days, but there’s a big difference between hunting and killing an animal for survival and taking part in your local pub’s steak-by-the-pound challenge.

“We always use this as an excuse rather than looking at the reality we live in today,” says Professor Marinova.

Australian Associated Press