A Scoping Review on Understanding Stigmas and Their Prevalence in Relation to Vegans and Exploring & Initiating a Change in Perception


  • Sam Mangan-Taylor


Vegan, Veganism, Vegan diets, Non-vegan, Omnivore, Meat eaters, Stigma, Stigmatisation


Background: The interest in adopting a vegan diet is increasing across the globe, gaining more media coverage and is expected to grow even further within the next 20 years. Taking this into consideration, there is a risk of an increased level of stigmatization towards current vegans as well as individuals considering making this transition. In order to tackle potential stigmatization, the prevalence of stigma in today’s society is crucial to recognise in order to identify new modernised approaches and strategies that can help to challenge current stigmas as well as tackle potential new stigmatization over the coming years in order to break down and eliminate stereotypical views.

Methods: A scoping review was carried out in order to define and identify stigmas in relation to vegan diets and also to identify current and potential new approaches and strategies in order to help eliminate and challenge identified stigmas. A search strategy was developed through various databases using specified search terms and an inclusion and exclusion criteria. The scoping review applied and used a suitable framework PCC (Population, Concept & Context).

Results: Overall, 20 studies were selected to be included within the review, all of which were sourced from peer reviewed journals. From the studies selected, five related to definitions and frameworks of stigma in order to provide contextual background regarding stigma and help to define and identify vegan stigma. Six studies focused on defining vegan stigma the and the different forms in which it exists and is currently prevalent A further six studies focused on gaining an insight of how vegans experienced stigmatization and potential routes in which vegan stigma may originate. The remaining three studies focused on current approaches and strategies which can initiate change and challenge current stigma as well as potentially identifying new modernized methods.

Conclusions: It was determined that stigma was a complex term to define universally, however it was identified that early methodologies and frameworks helped to define and identify different forms of vegan stigma and their prevalence in today’s society. It was found that stigmatization, from the experience of vegans, predominantly originated from carnivores, however other groups such as vegetarians also create a level of stigmatization towards vegans. Gender was also an issue identified and lightly touched upon however further research is needed within this area in order to produce reliable evidence in which conclusions may be drawn. From this, it was identified that traditional methods, approaches and strategies such as education, contact and protest were of use. However, due to the growing interest surrounding vegan diets, more modernized techniques such as social media and the labelling of vegan food products would be useful in order to initiate a change in thinking and breaking down stereotypical views and stigmatization towards vegans.