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Metadata for a survey investigating motivations for meat-free diets in Sweden

Cite this dataset

Suárez Rozo, Luisa F.; Nicholas, Kimberly (2019). Metadata for a survey investigating motivations for meat-free diets in Sweden [Dataset]. Dryad.


The health and environmental impacts of meat-based diets are increasingly recognized as sustainability issues, but the motivations behind behaviour change driving vegetarian diets have generally been studied via a limited set of motivations and are therefore poorly understood. To examine such motivations, we designed a survey measuring 20 different possible motivations, using 77 statements drawn from the existing Food Choice Questionnaire as well as diverse literature on environmental protection, animal welfare, social norms, and pro-environmental behaviour. We administered the survey to 121 vegetarians in Skåne, Sweden.


We found that animal welfare was by far the most important overall motivation for vegetarian diets (mean rating 4.29 on a 5-point scale), followed by intrinsic motivation (3.0), reduced consumption (2.69), environmental concern (2.65) and health (2.59). The least important motivations (ratings under 2.0) were sociability, social image, weight control, mood, and convenience. The most highly rated individual statements (ratings above 4.0) were protecting animal rights and avoiding causing animals pain, and a sense of integrity in living up to one’s values. We conclude that vegetarians are primarily motivated by valuing animals as well as personal integrity and enjoyment derived from vegetarian food, and that promoting vegetarian diets might therefore be more successful if focused on aligning consumer’s internal values and satisfaction with their behaviour, rather than emphasizing concerns for the environment or health. Understanding values of non-vegetarians would also be important to designing effective dietary strategies to promote more sustainable diets.


To assess the range of food choice motivations among vegetarians and vegans in Skåne (Sweden), we used an online questionnaire through, collecting data between April 4 and 18, 2014.  

The dataset was processed using SPSS, conducting descriptive statistical analysis to determine the mean of each individual statemente on a scale of 1 (Not at all important) to 5 (Extremely important). By averaging the  mean scores of every statement within each motivation scale, we then determined the importance of each motivation scale in explaining respondent´s adoption of meat- free diets. We also used t-tests to assess the effect of various demographic charactersitics on each motivation scale, and whether the different effects where statistically significant. 

We then interpreted the findings derived from this information, in the light of Self-Determination Theory, a useful qualitative framework to understand if the studied motivations are autonomous or controlled. 



Publication fees were supported by the Swedish Research Council, Award: Grant number 2014-5899/E0589901

The Swedish Institute SI Study Scholarship covered study costs for Luisa F. Suárez Rozo for the International MSc Programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science (Lund University), Award: Reference number 04678/2012


Provincia de Escania, Suecia