Over six million UK citizens have lied about being vegan or vegetarian, a new poll finds, in an effort to reduce their 'green guilt.' The survey, conducted by Kia Motors (UK) Limited, found that the social pressure to say you're vegan is leading people to lie about their meat consumption. This comes at a time where activists and celebrities such as Greta Thunberg and Billie Eilish use their platforms to bring awareness to the correlation between reducing meat and helping the environment. In turn, it seems that respondents felt social pressure to adhere to the vegan lifestyle, if only performatively.

Of the six million respondents who admitted to stretching the truth about their (not-so-pure) diet, the largest cohort was Generation Z-ers, with nearly a quarter admitting to telling a fib about being either vegan or vegetarian, while still eating meat. The next largest group was Millennials, who fessed up to lying at a rate of 12 percent, followed by nine percent of Generation X. Baby Boomers were the smallest group to admit to having lied about their meat consumption, with just four percent labeling themselves vegan or vegetarian while still eating animal products.

In the latest available research from The Vegan Society's 2018 study, the number of actual vegans in Britain is estimated to be 600,000, up three and a half times from the number in 2006. Vegetarians make up just over three million in the UK. It's likely to be even larger now.

So why did these over six million respondees feel the pressure to bend the truth? More than 53% attribute it to social pressure felt from colleagues as well as social media. A spokesperson for Kia Motor, Steve Kitson, gave some context to these feelings, saying that "There is a great deal of attention focused on green issues in society today, and via our research, we found that some of the UK public are experiencing ‘green guilt’.”

To combat this, The Beet suggests trying to add just one plant-based meal to your day, and gradually working more whole plant-based foods into your diet each week or month. With amazingly satisfying meat alternatives such as Beyond, Impossible and Quorn becoming more readily available as well as new products cropping up on grocery shelves each week, there's no reason to miss meat!


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