The Rise of the Tarians – What Meat Will You Eat: Take Our Quiz

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Having people over for dinner is now a minefieldMessages that would sound like Cold War spies meeting in a park to our grandparents must be sent out in advanceAre any of you vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, vegan, beegan, or Encephatarian1Is anyone allergic to milk, lobster, or pecansHow does everyone feel about Braised Sea Eel with Shark Foam? 

Figure 1: Tarian Incidence Rate

This begs the question, how many Tarians are now out there?  If I’m having six people over, what’s my estimated Tarian hit rate? We asked a representative sample what type of eater they identify as and the results are in the, errr, pie chart.  At 16%, the most common Tarian is Flexi-, people who eat meat, but limit their intake.  The three main types of non-meat eater account for 11%. Hence, assuming no correlation, with six people there’s a 50% chance of having at least one at our table. 

Somewhat Sheepish 

But self-report isn’t very Dectech.  We prefer more concrete behavioural metrics.  So, we also asked people, regardless of how they self-identified, whether they’d eaten meat over the past week.  About 14% of respondents hadn’t, comprising the non-meat eaters and a few Flexitarians who just hadn’t. 

But direct questioning also isn’t very Dectech.  Respondents often provide socially desirable responses.  We used a technique called Unmatched Count2 to anonymise people’s responses.  Were people editing their meat consumption when asked directly?  Yes.  Measured anonymously, the actual no-meat rate was 29%.  People were actually exaggerating the amount of meat they’d eat.  The Tarians seem to be sheepish. 

The Kreasonauts Eat Back 

Anyway, for some reason, meat is socially desirable.  Hence, we’ve coined the word Kreasonaut, from the Greek for meat and sailor.  Kreasonauts are those Omnivores who are the very antithesis of the Tarians.  Kreasonauts are active explorers of the meat universe.  We asked all the Omnivores whether they’d ever eaten a list of sixteen of the more adventurous meats.  The graphic shows those results.  47% of Omnivores have eaten Liver.  Snake, not so much. 

Figure 2: Have You Ever Eaten… 

The average Omnivore has eaten 2.9 items off this list and there’s some intuitive demographic patterns such as income, age and gender.  Women have eaten 2.5 items on average, men nearer 3.3.  Are you a Kreasonaut?  Take the quiz below, find out your percentile score and forward the result to your next dinner guests.  Then, in a saucepan large enough to fit the sea eel, bring the stock, soy sauce, and mirin to a boil… 

1. I made this one up, so I’m the only known adherent. The idea is based on the Encephalization quotient (EQ) which is a proxy for intelligence and  Encephatarian is when you resolve to only eat things below a given intelligence threshold.  In my case this threshold is set to pig, because I can’t face life without bacon.  In practice this means I won’t eat dogs, horses, crows and, the one I miss the most, calamari.

2. Raghavarao, D., & Federer, W. T. (1979). Block Total Response as an Alternative to the Randomized Response Method in Surveys. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological), 41(1), 40–45


Quiz Time!

Not only did we research how much meat consumers have in their diets, but we also looked at what kinds of meat people have eaten. Below are some of the most unusual things people have eaten at least once in their lifetime. To see how unusual your eating habits are, answer our quiz:

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