Female consumers are leading the way in the transition to a sustainable food system in Sweden, according to this year's Växa Tillsammans (Grow Together) report by ICA Gruppen.
Ann-Katrin Tottie, future analyst at ICA, said, "This year's future report clearly shows how women and young people are a step ahead in driving plant-based cuisine.
"We are also seeing that women are concerned about the climate issue to a higher degree than men, which is likely one reason why women have a greater propensity to choose plant-based alternatives."
The Växa Tillsammans report examines drivers and obstacles related to plant-based foods. For this year's report, ICA partnered with research firm Novus to conduct the survey, Växtbaserat 2025 (Plant-based 2025).
The survey found that 28% of women think the food they choose has a significant climate impact, whereas 18% of men believe the same.
Around 29% of women said that they cook vegetarian or vegan food at least twice a week, which is nearly three times as men (11%).
A higher percentage of women (31%) said they would eat more' plant-based/vegetarian foods, but not semi- or fully processed products' than men (18%).
In terms of age groups, 31% of younger people between the age of 18-29 said they prepare at least two vegetarian or vegan dishes a week.
This figure declines to 24% for 30-49-year-olds, 15% for the age group 50-64, and only 8% for 65-79 year-olds.
The study also showed that it is more important for many consumers that products taste like the ingredients they are made of rather than what they are intended to imitate.
Among people who want to increase the consumption of vegetarian food, 39% said they want a plant-based burger to taste like the ingredients they come from, while 27% said it should imitate meat.
However, among all respondents, including meat-eaters, 37% said they buy plant-based products that resemble meat, while 31% say they don't.
Tottie added, "In the shift that we are currently undergoing, the abundance of green alternatives that try to imitate the meat-based original is natural, quite simply because it lowers the threshold for someone to try them.
"But while imitations were a driver of the veg hype during the 2010s, the 2020s will create scope for greater variation and another type of cuisine where the vegetables themselves are central."
Country Of Origin
Interest in the country of origin of products has a significant impact on consumer's choices, with 81% of respondents saying they want information about 'the exact origin' when choosing food products.
Nearly six in ten (59%) respondents said that that they opted for Swedish products to support local, small producers.
One in three said they would buy Swedish food products if they knew more about the farmers behind them, and 47% would choose them if 'the products included more information about the origin and the Swedish producer,' the study noted.
Nearly four in ten (37%) also said that it is essential for their health that the ingredients are from Sweden when choosing plant-based/vegetarian.
Other factors behind choosing Swedish and local include shorter transport routes and better animal welfare.
The study found that climate will be a primary driver for plant-based food among Swedish consumers in the coming years.
The survey found that 39% of respondents considered the willingness to reduce their carbon footprint as the most important factor while choosing plant-based/vegetarian products.
The report also shows that consumers are careful about what they eat and have a keen interest in clear labelling of the nutritional content of plant-based alternatives.
Among those who identify as 'meat eaters', 28% believe that 'sufficient nutritional value' would be the most important reason for changing over to plant-based, followed by 'tasty and good', the study found.