Vegetarian dating in the UK: what do Brits really think?

couple cooking together

It’s World Vegetarian Day on the 1st of October (and, in fact, the vegetarian festivities usually continue throughout the whole month). With that in mind, EliteSingles polled 750 UK singles to discover what Brits really think about vegetarianism, meat eating, and the quest for romance.

Do meat eaters have ‘beef’ with vegetarians?

One of the more startling insights to come out of the survey was the revelation that, if forced to choose, many Brits would opt for lamb and loneliness over lentils and love. Indeed, 65% of meat eaters in the UK would dump a vegetarian who confronted them with an ultimatum along the lines of ”it’s me or the meat.”

What’s more, the prospect of facing just such an ultimatum is enough to put several British meat eaters off of vegetarian dating: 20% think that the threat of attempted conversion is the number one reason not to date a vegetarian.

Meating in the middle – is semi vegetarianism an option?

However, it may just be that meat eaters have beef with the ultimatum itself rather than with the vegetarian lifestyle. It turns out, if asked nicely by a vegetarian partner, nearly half of meat eaters (48%) would be prepared to try going at least semi-vegetarian. This includes 32% who would try and avoid meat in front of their partner and 16% who would give it up entirely.

Giving peas a chance: what vegetarian dating is really like

Yet, it’s unlikely that vegetarian dating will mean a life without so much as a sausage sandwich.

In fact, in news that’s bound to reassure those worried about ultimatums, just 3% of veggies would insist that a partner follow their meat-free example. A further 31% would like it if their partner thought about eating less meat, and the vast majority – 66% – would not want to change a partner’s diet, agreeing that ”they have to choose [vegetarianism] for themselves.”

You can’t beet having the same diet

Yet, despite the fact that most Brits would happily date someone with different dietary preferences, for both meat eaters and vegetarians alike, their preference is to date someone whose diet matches their own: 92% of vegetarians would prefer to date a vegetarian, while 90% of meat eaters would prefer to date a meat eater.

Overall, this means that 71% of UK singles would most like to date a meat eater and just over a quarter (29%) would most like to date a vegetarian.

The countries where they’re nuts for vegetarians

This may not sound like a lot – but, when EliteSingles conducted the same study across Europe (involving close to 10,000 singles in total), it turned out that British vegetarians have it relatively easy. At the very least, it’s easier for them to find a date than it would be in the likes of Hungary and France (where just 15% would rather date a vegetarian).

In fact, the UK’s 29% puts Brits towards the front of the pack: just ahead of Norway and Sweden, who came in with 27% and right behind Germany on 30% and Finland on 31%. The easiest place for vegetarian dating is Spain, where a whopping 37% would rather date a non meat eater; making Spain número uno for vegetarians in search of love.

veggie day map

Rump or romp? Vegans have more of an appetite for sex than vegetarians and meat eaters

You may want to consider taking up a vegan diet to boost your mojo in the bedroom. Our survey found that 80% of vegans think they have a high sex drive compared with 75% of vegetarians and 73% of meat eaters.

What’s at steak when meat eaters date vegetarians?

Interestingly, vegetarians and meat eaters both have (surprisingly similar) worries about the downsides of inter-diet dating. Funnily enough, despite all the talk of conversions and acceptance, it’s not a moral quandary that worries most singles, but a question that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time: what’s for dinner?

Indeed, for 45% of vegetarians, the single hardest thing about dating a meat eater is cooking and planning daily meals together. For another 30%, it’s planning the menu for special, food-based occasions like Christmas, while for 14%, it’s choosing a restaurant for date night.

For meat eaters dating vegetarians, the top three concerns are remarkably similar: 36% think that cooking daily meals together is the hardest thing about dating a vegetarian, 29% think it’s eating meat in front of their partner, and 17% think it’s planning the Christmas menu.

Breaking bread together: why sharing food is important

So why is the practice of sharing food as a couple so important for both meat eaters and vegetarians? EliteSingles psychologist, Salama Marine, thinks that it’s partly because eating together ”is, without a doubt, one of the most intimate things a couple can do – without taking their clothes off!”

As she explains ”sitting opposite one another at a dinner table and staring into each other’s eyes without distractions is certainly a big step in any relationship. If couples can successfully pass this delicate yet fundamental test, their relationship has a greater chance of going the distance.” In addition, with 81% of those in the study refering to themselves as ‘foodies’, it’s clear that, for many, ”culinary preferences are vital…and, as a result, some individuals are afraid of dating someone who doesn’t share the same eating habits as them.”

In other words, eating together can be a bonding experience so loaded with meaning that it is little wonder that singles want to ease a little bit of the pressure by agreeing on the menu!

This World Vegetarian Day, try your own veggie meal

With Salama’s wise words in mind, we decided to contact renowned UK food blogger Madeleine Shaw, to see if there were any date-worthy meals that might appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Happily, Madeleine has come up with a truly romantic- and 100% vegetarian – dinner idea: Creamy Courgetti Carbonara (find the recipe below). As she says: “Pasta is the ultimate romantic dish. I always remember the scene from Lady and the Tramp when they share the dish of pasta, gazing deeper into each other’s eyes with every bite. My courgetti carbonara with cashew cream is a wonderful dish for a veggie date. It’s creamy, filling and nutritious…make this for a dinner date and you’ll be giving each other googly eyes all evening.”

The perfect choice, then, for anyone wishing to bring some romance into the kitchen this World Vegetarian Day. Bon Appetit!


All UK statistics from an EliteSingles study of 750 British men and women (58% meat eaters, 42% vegetarians or vegans). In Europe, the study included data from 9,808 singles.
Quotes from Salama Marine taken from an exclusive EliteSingles interview, September 2016
Quotes from Madeleine Shaw taken from an exclusive EliteSingles interview, September 2016

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