Inside the Plant-Based Revolution: New Report Reveals Shifting Attitudes Toward Meat

New trend report: A vegetarian nudge that made kids choose plant-based food

Food has always played a central role in society, but the specific ways it shapes and reflects culture are constantly evolving. The recently published Greenfood Insights report provides a comprehensive look at some of the latest developments in the world of food, from viral recipe trends to innovative efforts to encourage more sustainable eating habits.

The wide-ranging report comes from Greenfood, one of Europe’s largest food companies focused on plant-based and other healthy fare. For the past five years, Greenfood has published the annual Insights report to explore emerging food trends and their broader implications.

“With each edition of Greenfood Insights, our goal is to spread knowledge and hopefully inspire stakeholders, individuals and industry peers to rethink the role of food in society,” said Alicia Hanson, Greenfood’s head of research and development.

One section of the new report looks at the results of an intriguing pilot program in Sweden called Street Food Week. During this initiative, thousands of schoolchildren across the country were subtly encouraged to opt for meatless options through simple changes like placing plant-based dishes at the front of cafeteria lines.

Over the course of Street Food Week, children selected nearly 780,000 servings of vegetarian food. Erika Svensson, the project’s lead organizer, said she was stunned by the success and what it suggested about how small nudges could shape behaviors.

“If we extrapolated the results across all of Sweden’s schoolchildren for a full year, it would mean over 50 million meatless school lunches,” she said. “It really makes you think about the massive potential impact if we could replicate this on a broader scale.”

The Greenfood report highlights Street Food Week as an example of the “plant-based revolution” that many experts expect will redefine food consumption patterns in the coming years. Surveys conducted for the report found generational differences in attitudes toward vegetarian diets, with Gen Z respondents expressing the most enthusiasm for meat alternatives.

“Younger generations are leading the charge, but plant-based eating is going mainstream across demographics,” Hanson said. “Even modest increases would have huge ramifications for public health and environmental sustainability.”

In addition to these big-picture trends, the report also dives into more fleeting food fads. One section analyzes recipes that went viral on TikTok over the past year. While short-lived, these social media-fueled crazes still offer insights into evolving tastes and foodie subcultures.

The report even shines a light on foods that have flown under the radar, like the legume known as the gray pea. Long a staple in parts of India and Africa, Hanson said gray peas could soon enjoy a quinoa-like breakout in the West thanks to their robust nutrient profile.

“Food influences society, but society also shapes food,” Hanson said. “We hope this report can help leaders across sectors better understand these important interconnections and how we can leverage them to drive positive change.”

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