30% of Swedish Millennials Eating Vegan Food for Health and Sustainability

A new report has revealed that Nordic citizens are becoming more open to vegan foods. From the top levels of government to individual consumers, a plant-based perspective is taking hold, sparking new policies and changes within the food industry to accommodate this plant-focused movement.

The research comes from Ernst & Young, which conducted a survey on Nordic consumer habits. The survey revealed that 24 percent of respondents foresee themselves reducing their meat consumption in the next five years, and 34 percent said they can see themselves eating more vegetarian food. Survey participants cited health and environmental concerns to justify their answers.

More specifically, the report included data from the Swedish Youth Barometer, which found that 30 percent of young Swedes are already eating more plant-based food to reduce their environmental footprint. In Denmark, eight percent of Millennials identified themselves as “flexitarian,” explaining that they limit their meat consumption to a certain number of meals per week.

These consumer habit insights are included in the Solutions Menu, a comprehensive document of food policy solutions created by the Nordic Council of Ministers  The Solutions Menu looks at sustainability, food waste, health, and nutrition to suggest innovative and progressive public policies which address the societal and environmental concerns of the Nordic region. However, this piece of research has the opportunity to benefit countries outside of Scandinavia. Representatives have plans to present their concept to world leaders at several high-level events this year. The Solutions Menu is on the agenda for the UN High-level Political Forum in Manhattan this July, which attendee list includes representatives from the Bill Gates Foundation and the World Bank. The document will also be presented at the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact in Tel Aviv in September, as well as the 24th UN Climate Summit (COP24), to take place in Katowice, Poland, in December.

“We used to talk about energy, but now we also need to talk about our foods, otherwise we will never meet the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Elisabet Skylare, senior adviser to the Nordic Council told media publication EUobserver. “There is a shift in the global agenda with food being added to the climate menu in a new way.”

Change is already beginning to take place, particularly in Copenhagen. In May, the city council approved an initiative to make public meals more plant-based in the future with a 45-7 majority vote.

Skylare also noted that consumers have the power to implement positive change in regards to a more sustainable, plant-based future. “Consumers have a strong power when it comes to push for change,” she remarked.