Undergraduate Honors Thesis


What's Hiding in Your Plant-Based Meat? A Communicative Lens on How People Decide What is (Un)healthy Food Public Deposited

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  • With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism in the United States, there have been new plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) on the market. People often struggle with making food decisions (despite being able to situate healthy from unhealthy food). PBMA such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods aid in confusing a consumer’s ability to make this distinction. Due to persuasion and influence from relationships and advertising, including food labeling, consumers shape their identities and behaviors. This study highlights how individuals inform their understandings of (un)healthy food and the difficulties they encounter in their food decision-making processes. This study utilizes qualitative research methods including one-on-one interviews and textual analysis of advertisements. Participants correlated plant-based foods as healthy and processed foods as unhealthy. As a result, the interview findings showcase the contradiction consumers face in regard to PBMA as processed plant-based foods. Furthermore, these findings demonstrate the impact that communication has on decision-making, and suggest that processed “health” foods can be misleading for a consumer’s understanding of what (un)healthy food is.

Date Awarded
  • 2022-04-08
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Last Modified
  • 2022-04-20
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