Do A Third Of Vegetarians Really Eat Meat When They're Drunk?

You might have recently seen headlines on some of your favorite food websites about a British survey/study that made a provocative claim: 37 percent of vegetarians eat meat when they’ve had one too many drinks. The claims were certainly specific. Here’s USA Today:

When asked how often the rule breakers ate meat, the responses varied — 34 percent said every time they drink, 26 percent said fairly often, 22 percent said rarely, and 18 percent said occasionally.

Fox News revealed what drunk vegetarians are eating — while also giving us Americans a peak into the street food scene in the U.K:

The most popular meat consumed by drunk vegetarians was kebab meat. In the U.K, Middle Eastern kebab shops are as ubiquitous as New York City pizza places and offer a wide variety of options from skewers to wraps and platters. Beef burgers were the second most popular drunk snack, followed by bacon, fried chicken, and pork sausages. Vegetarians reported that they spent an average of about $7.40 a sitting on their meaty midnight meals.

Vice’s Munchies said what meat eaters around the world were all probably thinking:

So basically, a third of all those people who have ever given you disapproving looks for asking for extra pepperoni on your Meat Feast regularly end their Fridays dropping a kebab down themselves on the night bus.

Yahoo News also worked this angle, as they dug into the “finding” that most of this meat eating is done in secret:

But apparently moonlighting as a carnivore comes with a side dish of shame. The majority (69 percent) said they don’t tell other people that they ate meat.

While you should obviously eat (or not eat) whatever you want, it’s kind of satisfying to know that your vegetarian friend who gives you the side-eye every time to have a burger might be doing the same on the sly.

The Daily Beast was skeptical:

The survey suggesting that vegetarians eat meat while they’re drunk is a bit less rigorous—it’s based on a survey conducted by a U.K.-based coupon company, VoucherCodesPro, who hasn’t publicly released any methods or details about the subjects involved—but it’s plausible.

Just kidding, they were skeptical about how few vegetarians the study revealed to eat meat:

If anything, it’s suspicious that so few vegetarians cop to eating meat while wasted, since twice as many admit to eating meat on any given day. So whether or not this survey is accurate, it still raises interesting questions.

The San Francisco Chronicle managed to explain why vegetarians would stray from their principles in a way any meat eater could understand:

We can’t fault them. We all chow down on things we ordinarily don’t eat when we’re drunk. That’s why Taco Bells are packed at midnight.

The Huffington Post even published a response — You Shouldn’t Criticize Those Vegetarians Who Eat Meat When Drunk — essentially shaming any “carnivores” who took pleasure in the results:

“When it comes to meat consumption, I think our obsession with perfection and purity hinders us from making sustainable and meaningful behavioral change,” Brian Kateman, co-founder and president of the Reducetarian Foundation, told The Huffington Post. “Small changes lead to big impacts, and it’s not all or nothing. It’s foolish to discount the benefits of all the meatless meals and to instead focus on the occasional meaty meal.”

Kristie Middleton, senior director of food policy at the Humane Society of the United States, said she sees a growing number of people who choose to cut back on animal products to some degree, noting that the trend applies to both the United States and some European countries.

In case anyone needs a refresher on why someone might want to cut back on meat, two of the big reasons are concern for animal welfare — in factory farms or otherwise — and the environment.

So who performed this heroic bit of research? A British coupon website called VoucherCodesPro. Their “research” was revealed in a blog post, one written in a weirdly self-referential voice:

New research by a money saving website in the U.K. has revealed that over a third of vegetarians eat meat whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Researchers compiled the answers to reveal the average amount spent on meat by vegetarians when drunk as £4.80.

The piece wrapped up with a quote from their exclamation-loving head of marketing George Charles (who likely doesn’t actually exist*):

“I really couldn’t believe the stats from this research! I know a few vegetarians who sometimes crave meat, but it seems that a few are giving into their cravings when drunk! I think it’s important for friends of these vegetarians to support them when drunk and urge them not to eat meat as I’m sure they regret it the next day!”

So, do a third of all vegetarians eat meat when drunk? Perhaps if they find the right coupon voucher.

* Mr. Charles doesn’t appear on the cartoon-staff-bio filled About page, though this unused Twitter profile for @VCP_George features a British-enough looking stock model.