Can ‘masculine marketing’ boost men’s interest in vegan food?

WURZBURG, Germany — We’ve all heard it before: eating plant-based meals is not only healthier for us but also beneficial for the planet. Yet, the age-old perception associates meat-eating with masculinity, making it challenging for some men to embrace veganism or even vegetarianism. So, a new study is asking: do plant-based diets need an image makeover?

Gender stereotypes often label vegan diets as more suitable for women, leaving men out of the picture. The new study probes the potential of marketing to bridge this gap.

“Men might be less inclined to consume vegan food due to the need to perform gender,” says study lead author Alma Scholz, who performed the research at the University of Würzburg and is now studying at Stockholm University, in a media release. “However, with vegan food being framed in a masculine way, men might feel less resistance and become more likely to consume it.”

The deep-rooted cultural ties link meat consumption with qualities like strength and masculinity. Simultaneously, plant-based meals are often considered less fitting for men. This gender-based view on food choice is changing slowly, with recent surveys noting an increased acceptance of vegetarianism among men. However, researchers say the concern about reinforcing their gender identity through consumer choices makes men’s meat consumption still dominant.

Man making a homemade salad, trying a vegan lifestyle
Could ads that looked like this convince more men to give a vegan lifestyle a shot? (© Mustafa –

“Since gender stereotypes also include food choices, men are more inclined to consume in a gendered way to steer social perception. Otherwise, they might be considered less masculine,” says Scholz.

To test the power of marketing in this domain, researchers altered the presentation and description of vegan dishes with “masculine” words and seeing how men responded. They also gauged the participants’ alignment with traditional masculinity and their general take on veganism.

Scientists found the results intriguing. Women, predictably, leaned more towards veganism. However, while the masculine marketing didn’t particularly boost men’s preference for vegan dishes, it did shift their perception of these dishes from being “feminine” to more neutral. Men less aligned with traditional masculinity showed more responsiveness to this masculine marketing.

“With a short intervention, the perception regarding gender suitability of vegan food was shifted away from femininity and closer toward a neutral position,” says Scholz. “Even if this shift did not go all the way, long-term interventions might have the potential of even stronger shifts, resulting in an improvement in men’s liking of vegan dishes, and are thus worth further exploration.”

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Communication.

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      1. Vegan is a fad supported by prog/left ideologues. When push comes to shove, vegan men will not attract the type of women who want long term, family oriented relationships. There will be a large part of a generation of almost men who will, like their childless feminist counterparts, regret, when they have passed a certain point in their lives, that they chose this fad as a long term lifestyle.

  1. It’s funny how different cultures have different standards. In Japan it’s known that women are obsessed with meat, and men tend to have interest in women. In America, the men are obsessed with meat, especially dark meat.

    Also American men are mostly fat, ugly and obnoxious. They will do anything to avoid eating healthy and being fit, instead preferring to talk non-stop trash on social media—something men of other cultures won’t even touch.

    1. What an ignorant comment. And your screenname is truth. 🤣Equating meat with bad health? Processed food is the cause of most of the western world health woes. Eating a good quality preferable pastured animal based diet is the best for most peoples health. FACT

    2. If you only ate the over-processed carbs sold on groceries store shelves you would be an extremely large/obese vegan on death’s doorstep. Vegan just means no animal parts, wheat, seed oil and sugar are vegan and probably more unhealthy than a piece of meat/fish. I am not convinced that vegan is an appropriate choice for humans who evolved as omnivores but is, instead, a fad pushed by various and sundry forces for a variety of motives, not all of which, are benign.

  2. And here I thought it was the taste.

    Who knew I loved meatball subs just because I had a meatball sub in my pants!?

    I don’t know where we poor apes would be without you shrub eating women telling us how to feed ourselves. But I’m going to guess happy and probably having dinner with your less naggy sister.

  3. Masculine marketing?

    I think that’s why there’s bacon and two hamburger patties underneath the lettuce and tomato.

    Or did you ladies really think we didn’t notice all the non meat like colors?

  4. The “super-cut” male models that are used id these articles kill me. They all rely on protein, and mostly meat protein. I worked at a full service restaurant (that was basically fast-food). I had may regulars that came in at least two times a week that were in wicked shape but did their cheat days filled with chicken wings and cheeseburgers.

    1. There are a lot of vegan male bodybuilders and pro athletes, including multiple NBA All Stars. There are other sources for protein besides meat.

      1. My guess is they’re taking some mega protein powder mix probably more harmful than red meat.

  5. The real science clearly shows that we need meat and the saturated fat demonization and red meat cancer connections were absolutely lies. Babies die when fed a vegan diet. Give it up please.

    1. Absolutely not! God put animals on the planet for man to enjoy a fine steak, fried chicken, leg of lamb, and last but not least BACON!
      Let’s not forget that women really enjoy and can’t get enough of man’s meat.

  6. God bless already! Stop it…I am NOT going to eat tofu burgers etc etc etc…and the powers that be that are pushing (trying) bugs on us can pound sand!!!…I love a lot of fruits and veggies but I also LOVE a great steak or a hamburger, brats, chicken, fish, eggs etc (sorta kinda eat a lot less pork products now though)…But yeah anyway, a balanced diet with regular exercise and good strong social connections is where it’s at…Give up trying to push this strict Vegan diet crap!

  7. An ad like that won’t change it. What might is some scientifically proven connection between poor male health and meat eating, and vice versa, veggies and better male health.

    A lot of the stigma is because soy is known to boost feminine hormones, and a lot of the vegan meat alternatives are soy based. Thus the stereotype of “soyboy” as being feminine.

    Now, I know a lot of pro athletes are vegan which has probably done more to change the perception than anything.

    But no, ads showing “manly men” won’t win over manly men. After all, nothing stopping meat eaters from eating plenty of veggies.

  8. Yeah no. Not even. Try never. Not taking my burgers or Prime Rib or Steak or chops or ANY of it! Wanna eat grass, have at it. Not this guy…..

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