Surprising Survey: 40% of American Children Believe Hot Dogs and Bacon Come from Plants

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A surprising poll found that 40% of American kids think hot dogs and bacon come from plants.

The Journal of Environmental Psychology recently released a study that found some surprising things about how American kids ages 4 to 7 think about where common foods come from. The scientists in the study showed 176 kids different kinds of foods and asked them to label them as either plant-based or animal-based. There were some interesting misunderstandings in the results, and a lot of kids had trouble telling the difference between the two.

40% of the young people who took part thought that hot dogs and bacon came from plants, which was one of the most surprising results. In the same way, 41% of the kids thought bacon came from plants. 38% of the kids thought that chicken bites, which have the word “chicken” in their name, were plant-based.

There was more confusion than just these cases. Fourteen percent of the kids in the study got cheese and french fries mixed up. And another seventeen percent got them wrong. Along with these foods, foods like popcorn and nuts were often mistakenly thought to be animal-based by more than 30% of the kids.

The study also looked at what animals and plants the kids thought could be eaten. There was a lot of misunderstanding in the results, with many children thinking that cows (77%), pigs (73%), and chickens (65%) were not edible. Surprisingly, 1% of the kids thought sand could be eaten, showing how widespread the misunderstandings were.

Even though these results might seem funny, the experts see them as a chance. They pointed out that kids’ false ideas about food could be a way to get them to eat more plants. Children may be more open to switching to plant-based meals early on than adults, who have come up with many reasons to eat animal products.

The study suggested that one part of the problem might be parents who don’t tell their kids where meat comes from, possibly because they’re afraid of how graphic the subject is. The researchers said that parents could simply lead their kids to choose plant-based foods by being more open about where their food comes from and giving them meat alternatives.

A portion of the children believed cow isn’t edible. Credit:Getty/catherinedelahaye

The researchers came to the conclusion that young people’s action about climate change could begin at home, over dinner. Kids who make food choices that are in line with their morals and environmental ideals might leave smaller carbon footprints and also have an effect on how their parents eat. In this way, youth could be a special time to start eating only plants and stick with it for life.

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