The green trend is growing

Vegetables. Photo: Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash
Women are the most important driver for greener and more authentic food in Sweden, according to a survey by ICA and Novus. Most likely we will see similar results in many highly developed markets. Photo: Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash
By Reidar Molthe

7 May 2021 08:49

The green trend is growing

Women are leading the way in the transition to a sustainable food system and real flavors are taking place among the substitutes. These are among the conclusions in this year's future report from ICA, "Growing Together".

There, ICA takes a closer look at driving forces and barriers linked to plant-based food and identifies five clear trends.

One of the trends concerns the view of "meat substitutes". Instead of a plant-based burger reminiscent in taste of a traditional hamburger, just as many consumers now demand flavors based on the natural raw material!

ICA's Future Report 2021 Growth-based

In this year's report, ICA, together with Novus (a consultancy company), conducted the survey "Plant-based 2025". Based on these results five clear key insights into plant-based food are identified:

  • Women show the way
  • Origin craze
  • Imitated or inspired
  • Nutrition gives bearing
  • Climate - an affordable driving force

The women show the way

That plant-based gains land is nothing new, but this year's report shows significant differences in terms of which groups drive development.

“This year's future report clearly shows how women and young people are one step ahead when it comes to running plant-based cooking. We also see that women to a greater extent than men are worried about the climate issue, which is probably one reason why women are more likely to choose plant-based,” says Ann-Katrin Tottie, future analyst at ICA.

In the ICA and Novus survey, 28 percent of women answer that they believe that the food they choose has a major impact on the climate, to which 18 percent of men answer. There are also almost three times as many women as men who state that they cook vegetarian or vegan at least twice a week (29% of women, 11% of men).

When asked which statements best describe their relationship to food, 31 percent of women answer, "I would like to eat more plant-based / vegetarian, but not semi-finished and finished products", which is true for 18 percent of men.

The generation differences are also clear, in the younger population (18-29 years) 31 percent state that they cook at least two vegetarian or vegan dishes a week, while the figure is 24 percent in the age group 30-49 years, 15 percent in the group 50-64 years, and only 8 percent among 65-79-year-olds.

Imitation or inspired

The range of substitute products is growing, and the report shows that for many it is more important that the product tastes like the raw materials it is made of, rather than what it is to imitate.

An example is burgers. Among those who eat poultry/fish/meat today but who want to increase the amount of vegetarian and those who only eat vegetarian, today more people answer that they want a plant-based burger to taste the plants / ingredients from which it is produced (39%), than that it should imitate meat (27%).

If the question is asked to "everyone", even carnivores, it will be much more even between those who advocate imitation and those who prefer the taste of the raw material: 37 percent state that they like to buy herbal products that mimic meat, while 31 percent state that they do not want them.

Origin is important

The interest in Swedish and locally produced food is still great and many consumers want to know more about the food they put on the plate. Almost six out of ten (59%) respondents answer, for example, that they choose Swedish to support local small players.

Other driving forces behind choosing Swedish and local is that it means shorter transports and better animal care. Almost four out of ten (37%) also believe that it is important for their own health that the raw material is from Sweden when choosing plant-based / vegetarian.

As many as 81 percent of the respondents in the survey answer that they want information about "exact origin" when choosing food.

Sources: ICA, Novus.

More News from Food