Gustav Johansson is behind Swedens largest vegan food blog – Jävligt Gott. He’s also the author of two vegan cookbooks – one covers Swedish comfort food and the other is for athletes in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund and the Swedish Olympic Committee.

Gustav’s work is fascinating. His work centers on using his platform to make it easier for people to chose a planet friendly diet. He does so by developing a trove of recipes that don’t require consumers to sacrifice the tastes they love or dishes they grew up with in order to eat more sustainably. He also works with supermarket chains and food entrepreneurs to ensure that the vegan products people want make it to market. He also develops recipes for new products to make sure there are resources available online for how to use them.

Besides Gustav’s story and approach, we also cover how new products are released in Sweden – it only happens three times a year – and why Swedes seem to be leading the charge when it comes to embracing a vegan diet.

There were a couple hiccups in audio in this episode! Please excuse them!

If we’re going to help people transition to a more sustainable diet, we have to look at the foods they love.

When did you first realize or was there a moment when you realized you wanted to work with food? 

Almost everything I learned and loved to eat beforehand was off the table.

2:55 How did the blog get started?

I needed to find a way to eat good and do good.

7:50 How are you using comfort food to help people transition to a more sustainable diet? 

Just because you consume something, doesn’t mean you know anything about it.

12:30 How do you make sure that new vegan products or alternative proteins succeed when they come to market? 

I can help to ease the meeting between the producer and the consumer.

14:40 How are you using data from you blog to measure a product’s popularity? 

It also enables me to search the market and different forums to see how people are using the product to find the best ideas rising up in small community-based groups, like a vegan Facebook group. It allows me to facilitate bringing those ideas out to a larger audience.”

16:20 How are new products launched in Sweden? What is the process? 

In Sweden, there’s just three windows each year when new products are allowed to be released in the supermarket.

19:40 What recommendations do you have for conducting a successful product launch? 

The most successful launches I’ve seen were able to create some kind of hype beforehand.

20:25 What are the weeks in Sweden when new products are launched?

20:40 How would you describe the climate for alternative proteins in Sweden? What’s popular? Where is the market going? 

Most people don’t realize that the average consumer shops for the same 100 products and that 100 includes household items like soap, paper, coffee filters.

23:45 Sweden seems to be leading the charge towards veganism in the Nordics, thoughts on why? 

There are three main reasons why people go vegetarians, climate, health, or animal reasons. In Sweden, the move towards veganism has mainly been driven by climate and health. 

30:55 What is your vision for what the Nordic FoodTech ecosystem should look like in 10-15 years? 

We need to create an ecosystem where farmers are involved and see themselves as part of the shift. Right now, all parties are not meeting in the middle. 

36:24 How can our community help you with what you’re working on now? 

Help me to create better products for the community that are more likely to be adopted!