Research - 25.09.2023 - 10:45 

Around 11 percent of Swiss households are eating health-consciously and in an environmentally friendly way

A new whitepaper, with the participation of researchers from HSG, reveals how Swiss households are adopting plant-based diets. The study reveals that the majority of the Swiss population however still follows a dietary style that is not very sustainable and health-promoting.
A new whitepaper, with the participation of researchers from HSG, reveals how Swiss households are adopting plant-based diets.

Globally vegetarian, flexitarian, and vegan diets have gained popularity, partly due to the increasing association of high meat consumption with various diseases and its significant negative environmental impact. But what about the Swiss population? What dietary patterns dominate in Switzerland? Answers to these trends are provided by a new study conducted by the Institute of Retailing and Marketing (IRM-HSG) in collaboration with the University Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Nutritional Medicine, and Metabolism at the Inselspital Bern.

For their work, researchers accessed the Swiss Food Atlas, a database that allows conclusions to be drawn about the dietary behavior of a sample of 371 Swiss households (representative in terms of household size and language regions) based on purchasing data.

18.3% of Swiss households follow a flexitarian diet

Flexitarians primarily consume plant-based foods and reduce meat and other animal products without completely eliminating them. As an increasing number of studies show, this dietary approach can promote human health and reduce the environmental impact of food. According to the current study, 18.3% of Swiss households follow this approach. 2.7% follow a pesco-vegetarian diet, meaning they avoid meat but consume fish and seafood. Another 7.8% follow a vegetarian diet, completely avoiding meat and fish, and only 0.5% of households follow a vegan diet. However, the vast majority of the population (70.6%) still follows an unsustainable diet rich in animal products.

10.7% of Swiss households meet all planetary health goals

Reducing meat and fish consumption alone is not enough to achieve dietary goals in terms of health and sustainability and therefore meet planetary health goals. Therefore, the research team also examined the consumption of eggs and dairy products in more detail. According to the study, 10.7% of Swiss households meet all requirements for a sustainable and healthy diet in terms of the consumption of animal-origin foods.

Conclusion: The proportion of flexitarians in Switzerland is still relatively low, especially among those who also restrict the consumption of dairy products and eggs in addition to meat and fish to meet planetary health goals.

Further information about the study

These study results differ significantly from other studies, especially since the data for this study are based on cash register data from food purchases rather than customer surveys. The research was conducted by Matthias Eggenschwiler, and Dr. Marc Linzmajer, from the University of St.Gallen and Melanie Stoll, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Lia Bally from Inselspital Bern. The project was financially supported by Danone Switzerland AG. The authors bear sole responsibility for the study's conception, research methodology, data collection, and analysis. Detailed study results and further information can be found at:

Image: Adobe Stock / aamulya 

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