Founded last month, Plant Based Food Finland (Pro Vege in Finnish) is a collaboration between major grocery chains such as Lidl, Kesko and SOK, vegan dairy producers such as Oatly and Porlammi Dairy, non-profit organizations such as WWF, and brings together various organizations. other companies and organizations.
“The overall aim of the association is to increase the share of plant-based foods in the Finnish food system.” says Niklas Kaskeala from Oatly, who is also Chairman of Plant Based Food Finland. The way to achieve this is to make plant-based foods appealing to as many people as possible. “The association works to understand the interconnections between food systems, climate change, biodiversity, culinary traditions, and public health.”
Some of the main routes to achieving this, according to Casqueara, include participating in strategic activities targeted at key policy makers, organizing joint events and seminars, commissioning and conducting research and research, This is done through activities such as communication, consulting, and campaign implementation to promote the plant. base nutrition.
Education about plant-based nutrition is a particularly important aspect of Plant-Based Food Finland’s mission and “one of the priorities outlined in the association’s constitution,” Kaskeala said.
Collaboration across industries
Cooperation is an important part of the association’s goals. For example, we plan to collaborate with similar organizations based in other European countries. “The association seeks to actively cooperate with other similar organizations, in particular with other Nordic countries and with other organizations in Europe.”
However, while cooperation is important, it is important for Plant-Based Food Finland to work at national rather than continental or global level, as countries have autonomy on many food-related issues. For this reason, a Finland-specific association was established.
“Many decisions that affect food systems are made at the national level” Casqueara told us. “Finnish companies therefore recognize the need for a national association.
“Similar associations are already active in several other European countries. The Finnish Association clearly aims to establish close ties with other national and European level actors and coordinate joint efforts to increase the share of plant-based foods in the food system. However, at the day-to-day practical level, we expect that the Finnish Association will focus primarily on national-level activities.”
One of the biggest issues across the industry is declining sales of plant-based meat, with companies such as US-based Beyond Meat losing significant revenue in recent months. What challenges do associations face in solving these industry-wide problems?
“The main challenge lies in broadening the appeal of plant-based foods to mainstream consumers, not just early adopters and environmentally conscious consumers.” Casqueara told us. “Additionally, significant hurdles are posed by various policies and market structures that create an unbalanced competitive environment for plant-based foods.How the association addresses these issues will be jointly determined by its members.”