Moral Foundations of Dietary Behavior and Its Linkage to Sustainability and Feminism


In the current article, we explore and compare the moral-foundations-profile of vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters and investigate how it is related to real-world behavior. Results of two surveys demonstrate a link between eating behavior, moral foundations, environmental behavior, and feminist ideals. We demonstrate that vegans place greater value on individualizing foundations (i.e., Harm and Fairness) and meat eaters on binding foundations (i.e., Authority and Loyalty), while vegetarians fall in between these poles. In addition, we observed that in other behavioral domains requiring moral assessment (e.g., sustainable behavior, fair trade shopping), people act in accordance with the moral foundations matching their dietary choice as well. We propose that the psychological basis of diet choice is embedded in the broader framework of moral foundations theory and that eating behavior is not a psychologically encapsulated domain but intertwined with other domains of moral behavior.

Author Biographies

Benedikt Hackert, University of Witten-Herdecke, Witten, Germany

Benedikt Hackert received a master’s degree in psychology at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany. He is currently working as a research assistant at the Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Witten/Herdecke. His work focuses on the social psychology of dietary behaviors, especially veganism. Next to this, he published articles on introspection, pain management in radiology, and social flow.

Lilith C. Voeth, University of Witten-Herdecke, Witten, Germany

Lilith C. Voeth is a master’s student at the University of Cologne, Germany, who is currently completing her master’s thesis in psychology on the influence of perceived cultural similarity on female role model acceptance. Prior, she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Hagen, Germany, on the topic of motivation gains in teams. She is currently working as s research assistant at the Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany, and contributed to research projects relating to social aspects of veganism, introspection, and social flow.

Ulrich Weger, University of Witten-Herdecke, Witten, Germany

Ulrich Weger is a professor at the Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany. His work focuses mainly on the theoretical and methodological aspects of first-person-research, especially introspection. His publications in this field include articles on diverse topics such as attention, the self, thinking, memory, awe and wonder, empathy, anger, mind wandering, and others.


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How to Cite
Hackert, B., Voeth, L., & Weger, U. (2022). Moral Foundations of Dietary Behavior and Its Linkage to Sustainability and Feminism. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(3), 564–593. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.3.190