Food Preferences in Finland: Sustainable Diets and their Differences between Groups

Elina Lehikoinen, Arto O. Salonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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The world is facing the great challenge of how to feed the increasing and wealthier population sustainably in the future, with already limited natural resources. The existing literature reveals the negative impacts of animal-based diets, and thus global diet changes are required to ensure future food availability. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that food consumption is more than caloric intake—it is based on personal preferences. We assessed how sustainable food choices vary among Finnish citizens. The respondents (n = 2052) answered nine statements about their consumption behavior. We applied quantitative and qualitative methods, and our results indicate that favoring plant-based diets was the highest among people under 30 and above 60 years old. Middle-aged men with high incomes was the most reluctant group to adopt sustainable diets. Health-related issues and origin of food were the most preferred reasons for food choices, while environmental awareness was ranked lower. The key to mainstream sustainable diets lies in the co-benefits —transition towards more sustainable diets among Finns could be possible, if people felt that they can combine the selfish, hedonistic factors (e.g., health, weight loss) and altruistic factors (e.g., ecological benefits) in their everyday diets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1259
Number of pages18
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • animal-based diets
  • consumer behaviour
  • co-benefits
  • diet change
  • food culture
  • plant-based diets
  • sustainable diets
  • Sustainable diets
  • Animal-based diets
  • Food culture
  • Plant-based diets
  • Co-benefits
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Diet change


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