You didn't really think I was writing a one-sided post about why a rural Kansas, farmer's daughter thinks vegetarians are crazy, did you? Well, they aren't and I hope that you clicked on this post for more than just the catchy title, because if you'll stick around you might even learn something new about consumer choices.I am always challenging myself to learn the opinions from people on what I used to consider, "the other side". It is a way to broaden my view on certain topics and adjust my opinions accordingly. Sometimes I find out that there really aren't sides at all...
That is exactly what happened when I had a conversation with a vegetarian. She is a good friend of mine and someone I have learned a great deal from without even talking about our diets. I wanted to start with a background and if you come back soon, you'll get to hear more from my vegetarian friend!
A consumer is a broad label used for people or households that utilize goods or services generated within the economy.
Within this broad category of consumers, people identify with different choice groups, oftentimes labeled with a name, based on the type and kinds of goods or services they consume.
Food consumers are no different and the American Dietetic Association identifies four types within the vegetarian lifestyle:
- Strict vegetarian or vegan: A vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products
- Lactovegetarian: A vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but includes dairy products
- Lacto-ovovegetarian: A vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish but includes eggs and dairy products. Most vegetarians in the United States fall into this category.
- Flexitarian: A semi-vegetarian diet with a focus on vegetarian food with occasional meat consumption.
That's a lot more complicated than I ever dreamed! There is an estimated 2.5% of US population who fall into one of these four consumer groups. No matter if you find yourself falling into one of these groups or not, we all have one thing in common - we make choices about our food at the grocery store or farmer's market everyday.
Stay tuned to see how my conversation went with my vegetarian friend.