Consumption of meat and dairy substitute products amongst vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians

  • Live Edvardsen Tonheim Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
  • Synne Groufh-Jacobsen Department of Nutrition and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
  • Tonje Holte Stea Department of Health and Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
  • Sigrun Henjum Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
Keywords: plant-based substitutes, plant-based diet, dietary intake, macronutrients, salt, vegans and vegetarians


Background: An increasing number of people adhere to plant-based diets, and the market for plant-based meat and dairy substitute products has been expanding rapidly.

Objective: To examine total intake of macronutrients and salt in a sample of Norwegian vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians; the consumption frequency of plant-based meat and dairy substitutes and raw ingredients used in these products; and the contribution to total macronutrient and salt intake from these products.

Design: A cross-sectional design using single 24-h dietary recall to assess the intake of macronutrients, salt and substitute products that the participants (n = 158 Norway residents [age 18–60 years]: vegans [n = 83]; vegetarians [n = 47]; pescatarians [n = 28]) consumed. The chi-square test with pairwise comparisons and the Kruskal-Wallis test with post hoc test were used to compare differences between diet groups. Macronutrient and salt intake were assessed relative to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR).

Results: Dietary macronutrient intake fell within NNR recommendations, with a favourable distribution of fatty acids and high levels of dietary fibre. Most of the vegans (90%), vegetarians (68%) and pescatarians (64%) consumed meat or dairy substitutes. The main raw ingredient in the substitute products was soy, followed by oats and peas. Overall, substitute products contributed to 12% of total energy and 16% of total salt intake. The substitute products contributed to higher saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake amongst vegans (27% of total SFA intake) compared with vegetarians (10%) and pescatarians (8%). Moreover, substitute products contributed to higher protein intake in vegans (19%) compared with pescatarians (7%).

Conclusion: Most participants consumed meat or dairy substitute products, suggesting that these products are included regularly in Norwegian plant-based diets. Furthermore, substitute products may contribute to dietary fat, SFA and protein intake amongst vegans.


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How to Cite
Edvardsen Tonheim L., Groufh-Jacobsen S., Holte Stea T., & Henjum S. (2023). Consumption of meat and dairy substitute products amongst vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians. Food & Nutrition Research, 67.
Original Articles