Emilia Mattsson, Sustainable Food Systems – Master’s programme
For the past years in Sweden, meat consumption has decreased while plant-based foods have increased in popularity. As this dietary shift is considered positive for sustainability, there has been an increase in research on plant-based food consumption. This thesis aimed to add to the growing literature by analysing Swedish consumers' preferences for meat substitutes. The willingness to pay (WTP) for different products was estimated using a discrete choice experiment (DCE). To conduct the DCE, an online survey was distributed to a panel of Swedish consumers. The respondents (n=517) were asked to choose between four products for making Bolognese sauce: meat mince, lentils, and soy- and pea-based mince. The products varied in price and geographical origin. There was no significant difference in WTP between the plant-based minces. Still, compared to soy, the respondents perceived pea protein as more natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Moreover, the origin of the protein significantly influenced the WTP. The respondents were willing to pay the most for domestically produced protein and the least for protein imported from outside the EU. Similar to previous research, female, younger, and highly educated respondents preferred meat substitutes the most. In addition, the findings suggest that food neophobia is a barrier to consuming plant-based food, as respondents with high food neophobia preferred meat substitutes the least. Conclusively, while meat products are most preferred, this thesis suggests that the origin is more crucial for Swedish consumers' when choosing meat substitutes than the protein type and that preferences differ between consumers.