Market & Trends

Coop Switzerland Reports Downward Trend of Women Purchasing Vegan Alternatives & Upward Trend Among Men

More than a quarter of consumers regularly eat vegan alternatives in Switzerland, according to the newly published Coop Plant-Based Food Report 2024.

While the report does note that demand for all meat alternatives has increased significantly since 2018, with burgers, in particular, growing by 279% in this period, Coop does point out that this growth has declined over the past two years. However, vegan sausage and charcuterie alternatives are experiencing a strong upward trend. The top three categories of meat substitutes on the Swiss market in terms of sales are new: vegan schnitzel, sliced meat, and sausage alternatives.

A newly emerging masculinity

Interestingly, the report notes that in general, there has been a “downward trend in the proportion of women among substitute product customers over the last four years and thus a trend towards men,” contrary to the norm. A recent study published in Frontiers in Communication about masculinity and veganism revealed that a proportion of male respondents believed in a ‘new masculinity,’ which represents a shift away from rigid, stereotypical notions of masculinity, and that these participants showed a positive attitude towards veganism.

Planted man with skewer
© Planted

Notable takeaways from the report

  • 58 percent of respondents stated that they consciously avoid animal-based foods several times a month.
  • 28 percent said they enjoy plant-based alternatives to meat, milk, and cheese several times a month while the proportion who have never tried a substitute product has fallen by 5 percentage points since 2022.
  • Currently, more than one in seven milks sold at Coop are plant-based — the same as in 2023 — with oat-based milk substitutes being the most popular.
  • 51 percent of respondents have consumed vegan alternatives for at least four years. This represents a further increase of 3 percentage points compared to the 2023. Coop’s sales figures also underline this ongoing development and the trend is likely to continue.
  • Almost 70 percent of the men and women surveyed think that they will be eating substitute products more often or just as often in five years’ time.
Yolo Co Op
©Coop Switzerland

Consumers of plant-based alternatives are not vegans

According to this report, two-thirds of respondents combine substitute products with animal-based foods within the same meal. This aligns with a study from October 2023 carried out by MACH Consumer, which found that the majority of those who purchase and consume alternative products are those who eat animal meat regularly (42%) or occasionally (42%), whereas just 16% were vegetarians or vegans.

Worth noting in this context is that, in 2022, futurologists at Switzerland’s Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI), an independent think-tank and the oldest organisation of its kind in Switzerland, stated that the Swiss population should eat an entirely meatless diet by 2050. “We will have no choice but to switch to alternative proteins,” said Christine Schäfer from the organisation at the time. The GDI also said, “Meat from conventional production will one day be for our grandchildren what the audio cassette is for us today: a relic fallen out of time”.

Coop Switzerland currently stocks over 1,900 vegan products under its own-brands Betty Bossi, Plant Kitchen and Karma, as well as under numerous brands from business partners.

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