Vegan Consumer Culture and Identity

Jeanne Milo Dreier

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The postmodern consumer is not under the influence of social status through income, family and 24 other such status symbols, which she would have been in a modern community. Instead she is 25 perceived of as an identity-seeker who turns to the market and consumption in order to form social 26 relations and alternative communities, which correspond to her values, interests, beliefs, emotions 27 and lifestyle. This study aims to analyse why some consumers turn to an alternative, yet integrated, 28 food regime, and which personal values they derive from it. 29 30 The traditional Danish food regime is highly influenced by the official guidelines of maintaining a 31 healthy lifestyle. Fish, meat and dairy products are perceived of as being healthy and contributing to 32 a nutritional diet, which enhances healthiness with the individual consumer. However, some 33 consumers turn to alternative diets in order to satisfy personal beliefs and values. In this study 34 veganism is analysed with the purpose of explaining why some consumers turn to a vegan lifestyle, 35 how the vegan identity is formed and how this knowledge can be relevant to marketers. The vegan 36 lifestyle differs from the Danish food culture to such an extend, that vegan consumers find it 37 necessary to turn to alternative authorities such as bloggers and fellow members of online 38 communities in order to seek information on how to perform a vegan lifestyle. The Danish food 39 culture is based on health and nutrition, whereas vegans perceive animals with the same value as 40 humans, therefore they restrain from any products containing animals or animal bi-products. The 41 motivation for leading a vegan lifestyle is hence driven by ethics, which has been confirmed in 42 previous studies, however environment and health are also to be considered important motivational 43 factors for vegan consumers. 44 45 The vegan diet causes feelings of stigmatization from their natural communities, therefore vegan 46 consumers turn to vegan communities in order to find social interactions with like-minded 47 consumers. The vegan online communities provides extended knowledge about veganism, serve as 48 word-of-mouth and allow members to share their experiences with a vegan lifestyle. Even though 49 this study primarily focuses on vegans, semi-vegetarians are also considered relevant, as they are 50 partakers of vegan consumption patterns, and hence a possible target for companies producing 51 vegan alternatives to traditional food items. Meat replacements and vegan alternatives serve as a 52 bridge between followers of the traditional Danish food culture and vegans, since they make it 53 possible for both parties to share food consumption.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2017
Number of pages191
SupervisorsHanne Pico Larsen