We explore the role of plant-based foods in the sustainability transition within the food system. Decreasing the use of meat and other animal-based foods is at the core of this transition, and the increasing markets of plant-based foods have a crucial role here.
We conduct empirical research with Finnish companies who produce plant-based meat and milk alternatives, and aim to understand what the role of these companies is in creating a more sustainable food system in Finland. We ask, for example, what kind of transition are the companies working towards, and how do consumer practices change?
We also examine veganism and the transition towards plant-based eating with different empirical material. For example, we analyse social media discussions related to the annual Vegan Challenge in Finland and explore the changes in practices described and facilitated by these discussions. We also analyse changes in meat eating by analyzing texts about daily eating practices in 2013 and 2020. Finally, we analyse survey data on how Finns evaluate the role of the discussion around climate change in relation to their meat eating practices. We have also published articles about Finns’ perspectives on insects as alternative protein sources.
Building new value chains and changing consumption practices also requires active policy support. We examine how the transition to plant-based eating is being supported by different policy mechanisms in the EU and in Finland. We also explore how domestic pulse production, processing and consumption could be better supported in Finland, and what lock-ins are related to strengthening the existing value chain. We produce policy recommendations to create stronger value chains for domestic pulses in cooperation with JUST-FOOD and Leg4Life projects.