Topic for my bachelor thesis: Vegan + Finance?

Prospect in _none

Hi guys,

I m currently looking for a bachelor thesis. On the one hand I am vegan and on the other hand I love corporate finance and valuation (maybe an unusual mix). Do you think there is a meaningful but also empirical way connecting these two topics for my thesis?

Thanks in advance & stay healthy!

Comments (42)

Jul 30, 2020

I am pescatarian which is similar to a vegetarian and I have worked in finance my whole life but I really do not see a connection in what you are proposing.

Most Helpful
Jul 30, 2020

Weird combination but I'll bite.

Depending on what type of thesis this needs to be, I'll list some ideas.

1) Statistical analysis of valuations of vegan food companies/brands vs. "normal" food companies/brands.

2) Comparing cost structures & revenue models of vegan food products vs. non-vegan food products.

3) Analysis of premium charged on vegan food. (You know, for some reason vegan/vegetarian food seems to be more expensive than non-vegan options.)

4) Some combination of the above 3 but comparing across different countries. (For example, most Indians are vegetarians. So vegetarian/vegan options are pretty regular. Vs in the US, being vegan/vegetarian is a more of a suburban/urban middle to upper-middle class thing)

Financial Data Science

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Aug 1, 2020

I like the third one, definately a topic that would appeal to just about everyone who didn't have an interest in either to begin with (worst case scenario of course).

Jul 30, 2020

Could you not just analyze the rise of the vegan/plant based market and project its growth based of x, y, and z? Some essential questions could be:

1) why is there a rise in people switching over to plant based diets? Is it a cultural shift, rejection of modern food alterations with GMOs/hormones, rising income levels so more people have access to "healthy" food?

2) What are the characteristics of the people switching to plant based? Are they mostly in California? Why?

3) what's the historical "American diet" like? Kind of tied into culture but an interesting section could be on different eating habits in different parts of the country. I.e steak and potatoes in the Midwest, southern food (I got family down south that makes a stew of whatever they can catch. Rabbit, opossum, you name it. The pride is in the hunting part)

4) To tie it back into finance you can use your above understanding of the vegan movement to pivot and focus on pioneering companies in the space. First thing that comes to mind is like BeyondMeat, and from there discuss the impact they have on this cultural shift-- if any. That part will be up to you to analyze the vegan market. Sounds interesting tho!

Edit: Don't know how liberal artsy you are, but the keyword "food anthropology" should be a good search term for you to get into this stuff. People write about the impact of food on our lives for a living! I'd love to see a finance cross section with it.

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Jul 30, 2020

what I'd be curious about is any conclusions you can make about the economics of whole foods (not the company)/sustainably sourced food companies and highly processed companies (not just mcdonalds, but beyond meat, impossible foods, etc.). my hypothesis would be that sustainably sourced ingredients still have favorable economics, but lack scale

other things I'm curious about in the area of food/economics

  1. how much arable land are we wasting mass producing soybeans and corn? if these were switched to some other use, what would be the economic hit?
  2. how much of the US's meat consumption is mass market (e.g. not free range grass fed small farms)
  3. how much would the economics of agriculture change if federal subsidies stopped altogether
  4. what would the positive environmental impacts be if we eliminated factory farming but still consumed meat from more sustainable farms
  5. how much waste is being generated in us having all foods available all the time? I'm biased on this because I live in an area where almost everything grows, but I would hypothesize that there are pretty poor economics in getting avocados to maine, if you follow that
Jul 30, 2020
thebrofessor:

4. what would the positive environmental impacts be if we eliminated factory farming but still consumed meat from more sustainable farms

This is an interesting topic that I've been learning a bit about. Apparently, the conditions at most factory farms are no better than at wet markets. Meaning, that COVID-like diseases can easily come out of these factory farms. Just like Swine Flu back in 2008-2009.

Financial Data Science

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jul 30, 2020
Prospect in _none:

On the one hand I am vegan and on the other hand I love corporate finance and valuation (maybe an unusual mix). Do you think there is a meaningful but also empirical way connecting these two topics for my thesis?

Absolutely not. No one cares what you eat, much less cares enough for you to write a thesis on it.

Jul 30, 2020

The topic of the work should not be my individual diet, but rather the empirical investigation of the vegan sector. I know that nobody cares about my diet.

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jul 30, 2020

Got it. So something like Better Burger or Beyond Meat?

Jul 30, 2020

After thinking about this a little further, if you wanted to do a thesis on veganism in the world of finance, it might make sense to evaluate whether a socially conscious approach should factor into one's investment decision making process. And if it should, what would be the probability of generating alpha from this approach compared to the alpha potential when using a more traditional approach.

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Jul 30, 2020

there are lots of vegetables working in ib

Array

Funniest
Jul 31, 2020

vegan

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Aug 1, 2020
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Aug 1, 2020

Short Answer: NO

Long Answer: In over a decade in finance, I don't think I've come across a single vegan in the industry. Vegetarianism is common, particularly with people of Indian decent, although this is far from a universal statement. As a counterpoint I know somebody straight from there (non-sikh nor muslim) who bought half a cow because he got a great deal on it. These vegeterian guys are generally very accomodating, and I've always felt obliged to go out of my way to accomidate them instead of the reverse, although I have a story about a REALLY bad work lunch order. I'm not sure if the culture or the cuisine came first, but to quote the late great Anthony Bourdain "India is the only place where I could even consider becoming a vegeterian."

Cheese is god's gift to man. That being said, I get if you can't eat it because your body objects. I've been wondering if I'm developing lactose intolerance myself as I get older. Thankfully, I normally eat longer aged cheeses which breaks down the lactose and don't normally consume milk, so I'm in pretty good shape.

Pescatarians break down into a couple of camps. You've got those doing it for their health, and those who object to the carbon intensity of beef production, both of whom are fine. Lastly, you have those who are basically saying "I don't want to eat anything with a pretty face." I had a coworker in the last group for several years that I wanted to strangle.

Straight-up self-identifying vegans have almost always been a red flag. I've found that they're almost always trying to value-signal as opposed to enjoying eating. If you don't like it, eat around it. If you've got an allergy, I'll find a substitute. If you say that I need to make something else because you can't eat it for moral reasons, or I need to cook you a seperate meal, I'll call you a c**t.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to limit consumption of meat. I'm happy to order the beyond meat whopper next time I'm at burger king, but I'm not going to tell them to hold the mayo and I might even do it with cheese and bacon. (probably not, my go-to is lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mayo. Sometimes pickles depending on how I feel)

Oh, also, ~50 page paper from MSCI on their ESG thinking. They are one of the leaders in the space: https://www.msci.com/www/research-paper/deconstruc...

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Aug 1, 2020

To correct myself a little bit: I am not a vegan "hardliner". I eat about 95% vegan food. But if I am invited to events, parties or wherever I am invited, I might also consider vegetarian food. Just like yours, my opinion is that it's very impertinent to always ask other people to follow this vegan rule. I have absolutely no desire to missionize any people here, I just wanted to connect these two topics for my bachelor thesis. :D (I don't like these types of vegans who alway want to missionize as well, because I think the vegan lifestyle should be an intrinsic motivation.)

But because this topic seems to interest you: your point of view seems to be a little biased when I read sentences like "Cheese is God's gift". I can only recommend to you to take a closer look at vegan nutrition in terms of health and environmental aspects. I am sure you can understand that as a vegan I have fantastic and rational reasons (apart from the moral aspects as well). I can recommend you documentaries on Netflix like Cowspiracy, What the health, The Game Changers, ...

Tl;dr: I understand your opinion, but we should take a more relaxed view on plant based nutrition. That would help people, animals and the environment massively.

Aug 1, 2020

Oh, cheese has absolutely horrific nutritional characteristics. Despite being 120 lbs my mother has had to severely cut back on it for cholesterol reasons. It's a relic of pre-refrigeration preservation techniques, sort of like pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi. (which I also love) That doesn't make it less tasty.

I''m not going to watch any of those, since I've got the institutional version of that piece and basically every other item that every major ESG provider has put out, which are more hard-nosed than anything you'll find on Netflix.

Also, it's possible to be healthy or unhealthy either way. Potato chips are both vegan and gluten free. I still wouldn't recommend basing a diet around them.

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  • Prospect in IB - Restr
Aug 1, 2020

Bruh. You listed quite possibly the WORST, least factual, and frankly retarded documentaries possible.

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Aug 2, 2020
Prospect in _none:

Hi guys,

I m currently looking for a bachelor thesis. On the one hand I am vegan

ok

finbear:

To correct myself a little bit: I am not a vegan "hardliner". I eat about 95% vegan food

lol what? you're either 100% vegan or you're not vegan

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 2, 2020
finbear:

But because this topic seems to interest you: your point of view seems to be a little biased when I read sentences like "Cheese is God's gift". I can only recommend to you to take a closer look at vegan nutrition in terms of health and environmental aspects. I am sure you can understand that as a vegan I have fantastic and rational reasons (apart from the moral aspects as well). I can recommend you documentaries on Netflix like Cowspiracy, What the health, The Game Changers, ...

Tl;dr: I understand your opinion, but we should take a more relaxed view on plant based nutrition. That would help people, animals and the environment massively.

finbear:

if I am invited to events, parties or wherever I am invited, I might also consider vegetarian food.

lol so if the cheese plate goes by at an event - you consider... hmmm 'maybe I'm vegetarian tonight' - hahaha

Also, I agree with @Whatever1984 - cheese is God's gift to man. I've been vegan before, but cheese is so good. I really like pizza in general and in moderation it is pretty healthy if you're burning calories.

It sounds like you're shoving veganism a bit down people's throats when you're not even a real vegan. If you want to be a vegetarian, go for it - but don't claim to be something you're not. Stop saying 'vegan nutrition' and start saying that you believe in a plant based diet. They are similar, but not the same. Everyone needs a healthy supply of fruits and vegetables. And a slice of pizza is nice every now and then. Everything in moderation.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 2, 2020

Vegans exist in finance. I know of a fair few. I'd guess we're actually slightly more prevalent in finance than in the general population, though it's still a small number (single digit %). But since most don't advertise their dietary preferences you'd be hard pressed to know unless you went to lunch together. TLDR: it doesn't matter one way or the other.

Aug 2, 2020
Prospect in _none:

On the one hand I am vegan & stay healthy!

does not compute

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

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Aug 2, 2020

Stay healthy was mentioned because of the Covid Situation.

By the way, it is funny and insightful at the same time that I only ask for tips regarding my bachelor thesis and I get more and more "emotional" attacks from unsuspecting people who question my nutrition, although it can be scientifically proven that there is nothing to doubt. Also to you applies: Try to deal at least a little bit with nutrition and you will notice relatively quickly that vegans by no means have an unhealthy lifestyle.

At this point this Thread can be closed also gladly, I must otherwise only still more excite myself with the measure of ignorance, which prevails here.

In summary: I don't give a fuck how you feed yourselves, but stop beating on vegans all the time, who have absolutely no urge to convert you.

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Aug 2, 2020
Comment

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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