Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Lukas Dillon 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I have just completed the Applied Psychology degree at IADT. I also served as chair of IADT Students' Union Class Rep Council for the 2021/22 academic year. My areas of interest include health psychology, neuroscience and LGBTQ+ issues. I plan to gain employment while I research and decide on postgraduate study.

Project Description

This study examined if diet type (omnivore and flexitarian) and generational cohort (Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X) impacted meat eating justification. Results suggested that omnivores justified meat consumption significantly more than flexitarians. Furthermore, there were significant differences in meat eating justification between generational cohorts.

Project Objectives

While plant based diets and food have reportedly grown in popularity in recent years, meat consumption remains very common in western societies. Given the negative environmental and health outcomes associated with meat production it appears important to examine the justifications individuals provide for eating meat. While gender and diet type have been widely examined in previous research, there appeared to be a gap related to the impact of generational cohort on meat eating justification. Thus, this study aimed to examine the impact of diet type (flexitarian or omnivore) and generational cohort (Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X). A quantitative method using an online questionnaire was employed. Data from three hundred and sixty six participants (63.29% female, ranging in age from 19 to 56 years with a mean of 35.14 years) was used to complete statistical analysis.

Project Outcomes

Results suggested there was a significant difference in meat eating justification based on diet type as omnivores had higher meat eating justification scores than flexitarians. Furthermore results suggested there were significant differences in meat eating justification between generational cohorts. Generation Z’s meat justification scores were significantly greater than Millennials’ meat eating justification scores, but also significantly lower than Generation X’s meat eating justification score. Furthermore, Millennials’ meat eating justification scores were significantly lower than Generation X's meat eating justification scores. These results may be useful for marketers or in designing health policy. However, longitudinal research needs to be carried out to examine if differences in meat eating justification between generations persist over time. Qualitative research may also provide deeper insights into how diet and generational differences impact meat eating justification use in daily life.