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Almost half (48 percent) of U.S vegans and vegetarians say they have been ‘food shamed’ at work, according to new research by fitrated.com.

The organization, which reviews fitness equipment, quizzed nearly 1,000 people about their experiences eating lunch at the office versus at home, in privacy throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the poll results, 54 percent of employees reported feeling self-conscious about their work lunches because of the reactions of their co-workers, feeling shamed for eating foods deemed unhealthy by others, as well as healthier options, with ‘vegetarians and vegans the most affected by food shaming at work’.

Working from home

The survey also revealed that the most embarrassing comment people received about their lunch was that it had a strong aroma, with 58 percent who were told this becoming self-conscious. Following that, 50 percent of people who received comments about the unhealthiness of their lunch felt self-conscious as a result.

Changes people have made in what they eat for lunch when working from home as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown include 40 percent of employees reporting eating healthier lunches, and 11 percent moving towards more unhealthy options.

Both women (43 percent) and men (32 percent) say they are eating more food throughout their at-home workday, with 28 percent of respondents taking longer and 20 percent taking bigger lunches.

‘People sometimes feel self-conscious’

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, the organization said: “We learned that while breaking bread in front of others can be a delightful experience, people sometimes feel self-conscious about food, especially when their co-workers make comments.

“It turns out there are some strong opinions about what’s appropriate to eat at work – who knew? Our findings also reveal how employee lunch habits have changed now that more people are working remotely.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.