How to become successful in the Meatless Future?

By Sahra Rosenkvist

Plant-based eating is a game-changing trend, especially with more and more consumers identifying themselves as flexitarians. We see multiple companies and brands racing to leverage this trend to their advantage. But HOW should brands act in order to become truly successful in this field, instead of drowning in the competition? What are the future consumers really looking for and why? 

This autumn, the HMT is conducting a qualitative consumer research project about sustainable meat alternatives including both meat substitute products and cultured meat in order to investigate How to become successful in the Meatless Future. The research will be performed through combined methodological and theoretical perspectives of cultural analysis and HMT’s FourFactors®.

We will investigate the Nordic (Danish & Swedish) consumers’ perceptions on plant-based meat substitutes and the social and cultural dimensions of their consumption motives. Moreover, we will investigate consumers’ perceptions and feelings about cultured meat (“lab-made meat”) to understand the opportunities and challenges for this new type of meat product, which isn’t yet available on the market. Human health, ethics and sustainability will be in focus, as well as the consumer trust in food science and technology, to identify the barriers between the consumer and these food products.

The opportunity of the Meatless Future

With increasing consciousness in environmental problems, our limited natural resources, health issues and animal welfare, consumers have increasingly started to look for alternatives to meat during the last decade. According to the latest research, in the U.K. the number of people identifying themselves as vegans has increased with 350% during the last decade (Vegan Society) and in the U.S.A it has increased with 600% in the last three years (1).

Cutting down on meat consumption is one of the top consumer trends in Western countries today and the greatest business opportunity is most likely the huge amount of meat-eaters that have started to become flexitarians, i.e. part-time vegetarians.

– The plant-based meat category today is reminiscent of the plant-based milk category about 10 years ago, when growth began to really take off, says Caroline Bushnell, senior marketing manager at GFI. (2)

According to Bushnell, the retail plant-based meat category could be worth almost $10 billions, if it continues to follow the plant-based milks trajectory. (2)

The reason why we have chosen to look at the Nordic market for this research is that Nordic market is one of the first moving influencer markets of the world and that there is already a great variety of meat substitute products in this market. According to a new study from SIFO 50% of Swedes purchase an expressly vegetarian product at least once a week (3)

Moreover, according to Euromonitor Sweden has shown by far the biggest improvements in country rankings of plant-based options, with for example high variety of products, favorable legislation, innovative local brands and rising availability and affordability of plant-based options” (4)

Identifying challenges & opportunities in the market to develop winning strategies

This research is of great value since the results will provide a picture of the current situation of the plant-based “meat” market in terms of market trends & drivers, as well as a foresight of the future of the food category.

We will identify the major challenges and opportunities of the future for sustainable meat substitutes and cultured meat, relating to consumer needs and wishes, and based on these we will develop strategic recommendations on How to become successful in the Meatless Future.

Are you interested to learn more about this research project and would you for example want your brand to be part of the research? Connect with

Sahra Rosenkvist from Istanbul, Turkey, is a graduate student in Applied Cultural Analysis at Lund University, with great experience in designing cultural research projects and conducting qualitative research. Previously, she worked as Communication and Human Resources Assistant at prestigious science and retail corporations  in Sweden and Turkey and during spring 2018 she worked with HMT in the project of “The Church of Healthy Eating”. Now she is again partnering up with HMT for her “Meatless Future” project, where she acts as project manager and researcher. Sahra is a vegetarian since 10 years, and has been conducting academic research on meat substitutes since 2017.


List of references:

  1. Future of Food. (2018, Jan 18). Why the Global Rise in Vegan and Plant-Based Eating Isn’t A Fad (600% Increase in U.S. Vegans+ Other Astounding Stats) [Blog Post]. Retrieved from
  2. Anzilotti, E. (2018, Sep 12). People are really, really into plant-based meat these days. Retrieved From
  3. Orkla Foods Sverige(2018, Oct 9). 2 av 3 konsumenter tycker att mjölk, ost och ägg kan ingå i vegetarisk kost. Retrieved from:–ost-och-agg-kan-inga-i-vegetarisk-kost,c2635609
  1. Euromonitor International.(2017, Mar). Plant-based Protein: Assessing Demand for Sustainable Alternatives. Retrieved from