Opinions of Non-Vegetarian Consumers Among the Chinese Community in Malaysia Toward Vegetarian Food and Diets

Zainalabidin Mohamed, Rika Terano, Shun Jing Yeoh, Abdullahi Iliyasu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Generally, vegetarianism has been gaining in popularity, especially among the Chinese and Indian communities. This could be due to religious beliefs, or it could be due to health concerns. The advancement in food technology has made the intake of plant-based protein products possible for vegetarian consumers through meat substitutes. As food consumption trends in Malaysia are characterized by foods with high cholesterol and calories and lower amounts of plant foods, there is concern about healthy eating and health among Malaysians. Statistics have shown that there are obesity and heart-related problems among Malaysians, that the numbers are increasing, and that these phenomena are related to the food that is currently being consumed by Malaysians. The objective of this study is to identify the potential market for vegetarian food among non-vegetarian Chinese consumers in Malaysia. The specific objectives are to determine the dimensions of non-vegetarian consumers’ opinions toward vegetarian food and diets, and to determine the factors that influence non-vegetarian consumers’ opinions toward vegetarian food and diets. Five hundred Chinese respondents who are non-vegetarians were interviewed using a structured questionnaire distributed in Pinang. Descriptive analysis, factor analysis, and binary logistic regression were used in this study. The results of the study show that more than 58.6% of the respondents have a positive opinion toward vegetarian food and diets. They could be influenced by their demographic profiles, food preferences and knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward vegetarian food and diets. Environmental and animal well-being concerns, being taught to be vegetarian for religious reasons, and the influence of surrounding people on eating habits were also important factors influencing non-vegetarians’ opinions on vegetarian food and diets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-98
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Food Products Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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