The main findings of a detailed qualitative study of the motivations, beliefs and attitudes of practising vegetarians and vegans are reported. It is concluded that vegetarianism, while remaining very much a minority option, is increasing steadily in the UK population, although the rate of increase appears to vary by such factors as age, gender and socio‐economic category. Those who opt for a non‐meat‐eating dietary pattern may well represent the vanguard of a form of ethical consumerism to which food producers, processors and retailers will need to be increasingly responsive in the near future.
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