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The vegan trend and the microfoundations of institutional change: A commentary on food producers’ sustainable innovation journeys in Europe
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Industrial Engineering and Management, Faculty of Management & Business, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4007-5341
Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany.
Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany.
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
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2021 (English)In: Trends in Food Science & Technology, ISSN 0924-2244, E-ISSN 1879-3053, Vol. 107, p. 161-167Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

Background

Today's meat and dairy industry has a vast environmental footprint. To reach the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) of ending hunger globally (SDG #2) and achieving sustainable consumption and production (SDG #12), this food production system needs to change. Recent years have seen the rise in popularity of the vegan or plant-based diet among consumers, which can go some way to reducing the environmental burden. This trend has motivated pioneering food producers to develop innovative vegan food products for niche markets, thus driving the sustainability transition of the food sector.

Scope and approach

This commentary tracks how three pioneering food companies have responded to the vegan trend in Europe. From the analysis of the sustainable innovation journeys of these innovative food producers, we propose a framework that presents a multi-level perspective on the socio-technical transition of the food production and consumption system.

Key findings and conclusions

The findings show how food producers, incumbents, and new entrants progress through an early phase of planning a direction and establishing a goal, followed by pivoting and experimenting in response to changes in the business environment. This innovation journey concludes as the company moves from experimentation and learning activities onto innovation implementation. The paper postulates a model that describes how regime level changes arise from the microfoundations of the food production and consumption system, as the innovation journeys of companies drive institutional change towards sustainability. The paper identifies future research avenues to explore the sustainable development of vegan food production in more depth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021. Vol. 107, p. 161-167
Keywords [en]
Sustainable innovation journey, Sustainability transition, Veganism, Vegan food producer, Plant-based food industry
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-50829DOI: 10.1016/j.tifs.2020.10.003ISI: 000603429800015Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85092510031Local ID: ;intsam;1475723OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-50829DiVA, id: diva2:1475723
Available from: 2020-10-13 Created: 2020-10-13 Last updated: 2021-02-24Bibliographically approved

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Saari, Ulla A.

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