5 Nordic consumption trends to watch 


5 Nordic consumption trends to watch 

Today’s Nordic consumers are shopping with purpose prioritizing health, focusing on personal needs, and given the state of global inflation, keeping a close eye on price. Fueled by the newly released NielsenIQ Market Trends report, here are 5 Nordic consumption trends to watch. 

At the forefront of this trend is the continued rise of the “no low” and “sober curiosity” movements sweeping across the Nordics. 

When it comes to nonalcoholic beer sales, Finland grew the fastest of the Nordic countries with a value growth of 33 % in 2021. Finland was followed by Denmark (+15.1 %), and then Sweden (+12.9%). Groceries sales of nonalcoholic beer in Norway declined by 1.6 %. 

Nordic coffee culture is buzzing 

Coffee continues to be consumed with fervor throughout the Nordic region. The Nordic coffee culture, which is tightly engrained with community and conversation, continues to drive solid sales. Coffee is on the top 20 list of the most sold categories across all Nordic countries. Coffee volumes grew by +13.4% in the Danish groceries trade. Price drove coffee sales growth in the other Nordic markets, however, as volume sales in Finland (-2%), Norway (-1.5%) and Sweden (-0.2%) declined.

Soft drink sales in Nordics are bubbling with strength 

For Nordic consumers, carbonated beverages remain a mainstay on grocery lists. The Nordic growth figures are especially impressive for two reasons. Firstly, carbonated soft drinks are well established, making the top 20 list in all Nordic countries. Secondly, the pandemic heavily influenced sales, making 2020 a record year.  

Taxation changes introduced to make domestic purchases more competitive in Norway contributed to the massive volume growth. Volume sales increased 11%, closely followed by Sweden (+10.9%). Both countries experienced a reduction in average prices with a massive growth in volume and a big decline in value sales. Denmark and Finland, on the other hand, experienced a value increase for carbonated soft drinks of 10.5% and 20% respectively, with an increase in volume sales measured in liter of almost 9% and 11%.   

Meat-free days are becoming the norm

The increased appetite for meat-substitutes in the Nordics is not only linked to consumer demand – but also to category development. Retailers and manufacturers have successfully worked together to meet shoppers’ increased desire to put animal ethics, sustainability, and health at the center of their plates.  

Meat-free days are becoming the norm, and an increasing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarians demanding alternatives that are fresh, easy to use and convenient.  

Volume sales of Fresh Meat alternatives grew more rapidly than frozen variants in Sweden. The volume increased by more than 7 %. Sweden experiences a decline in the sales of frozen meat substitutes. In Norway frozen variants grew more with regards to volume than fresh variants (+9,4 % vs. 5,9 %).  In Denmark there is also growth in vegan categories. Especially within dairy products and frozen food.  

Plant-based dairy products are becoming increasingly popular with Nordic shoppers. Lactose avoidance, especially amongst the younger generations, plays a principal factor, with those who avoid lactose often prioritizing the same concerns as those who limit meat consumption.  

Finland observed the fastest volume growth of drinkable dairy substitutes (+18%), followed by Norway (+12%), Denmark (+10%) and Sweden (+9.6%). Within dairy substitutes we observe a clear trend towards products that are based on Oat in Sweden and Norway. It is not only plant-based products that are outgrowing traditional dairy. Lactose free and lactose reduced dairy products are increasingly gaining traction.  

Keep your finger on the pulse of the Nordic consumer 

Understanding evolving market trends is more important than ever. Our Nordic Market trends reports, available for all our Nordic markets, cover three years of sales development for virtually all categories and segments—giving you sight on white spots and opportunities for your categories as well as adjacent ones.  


Figures are based on the NielsenIQ Nordic Market Trends report, comparing 2021 data with 2020.