The Vegetarian Society of Denmark hears many questions from consumers concerned about the sacrifices of a meat-free lifestyle. Luckily, there are many solutions out there to suit all tastes. Through its collaboration with the food industry, the society aims to get even more green meals on the table – in all consumer households.
One of the oldest societies of its kind in the world, the Vegetarian Society of Denmark (VSD) is the go-to place for knowledge about plant-based food trends and the Danish and European labelling schemes for vegan and vegetarian products.
VSD is also currently driving a two-year network project to boost the production of plant-based protein in Denmark. The project is funded by the Green Development and Demonstration Programme (known as GUDP in Danish).
Since the society joined Food & Bio Cluster Denmark in autumn 2019, a handful of member companies have already been in touch for sparring about opportunities in the plant-based market.
One of VSD’s focus areas is to facilitate matchmaking between small plant-based food enterprises and large manufacturers, including meat companies that want to develop a vegetarian or vegan product range.
“We have a good overview of what’s happening nationally and internationally with regard to plant-based product development and consumer demand for vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets,” says Katrine Ejlerskov, business and organics project manager at VSD.
To support the consumer movement towards greener food choices, VSD hosts seminars and conferences and runs training courses in food and the environment for school children.
“Most of us are used to making food in a certain way, so it can be difficult to rethink and adopt new habits. Some people think they won’t be able to eat shawarma anymore and are relieved to hear they can still buy plant-based foods that are similar to what they’re used to,” Katrine explains.
“At the same time, there are consumers who despise products that are made to resemble something they are not. The market for plant-based foods is highly divided. In recent years, VSD surveys have also found that consumers increasingly link vegetarian products with organic food.”
As VSD has experienced, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark is a good match with the society’s knowledge-sharing philosophy. Ambitions are high, Katrine adds.
“We hope our membership of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark will bring us into contact with more food companies so we can start new conversations and raise awareness of the Danish and EU labelling schemes for vegan and vegetarian labels.”