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NEW YORK - One in four teens now considers vegetarianism "cool," according to a new study from market researchers at Teenage Research Unlimited. To try and counter the trend, beef marketers are gearing up for promotions to renew beef's image with teens, reports Time magazine.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association has responded to the looming vegetarian crisis by launching a website, Cool 2B Real. The site, which the reporter says looks like a cross between a Barbie fan page and a Taco Bell ad, encourages teenage girls to "Keep it Real" -- "real" as in a person who eats beef, preferably three or four times a day. Visitors are also invited to send e-cards to their "real friends" and to tell the world why they are "real girls."
The Teenage Research Unlimited study indicates a rise in vegetarianism particularly among teenage girls.
"We hope the 'Cool 2B Real' campaign helps girls make healthy decisions about food and exercise," Mary Young, a registered dietician and executive director of Nutrition for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, told Time. The NCBA, said Young, is concerned about the nutritional shortfalls of vegetarianism.
New findings from the University of Minnesota link teen vegetarians to a less health-conscious lifestyle than that of their carnivorous peers, noted Time. Marketers may do well to stick to more research-based information, as opposed to focusing on telling teens what's "cool," according to the reporter.