Within the "ovo-" groups, there are many who refuse to consume fertilized eggs (with balut being an extreme example); however, such distinction is typically not specifically addressed.

Some vegetarians also avoid products that may use animal ingredients not included in their labels or which use animal products in their manufacturing.

Packaged and processed foods, such as cakes, cookies, candies, chocolate, yogurt, and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, so may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additions.

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The International Vegetarian Union, an association of the national societies, was founded in 1908.

In the Western world, the popularity of vegetarianism grew during the 20th century as a result of nutritional, ethical, and—more recently—environmental and economic concerns.

Vegetarianism was also practiced about six centuries later in another instance (30 BCE – 50 CE) in the northern Thracian region by the Moesi tribe (who inhabited present-day Serbia and Bulgaria), feeding themselves on honey, milk, and cheese.

In Indian culture, vegetarianism has been closely connected with the attitude of nonviolence towards animals (called ahimsa in India) for millennia and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers.

Semi-vegetarian diets include: On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids), fewer overall calories, more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, than do non-vegetarians.

Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index.

For anatomically and physiologically plant-only diets in non-human animals, see herbivore. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference.

There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs.

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