The 4 coolest ethical Swedish food and drink companies

It's more important than ever before that companies are doing their bit to help the planet. We look at four Swedish companies with green credentials

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The food and drink industry is responsible for a significant amount of global emissions. More than 25 per cent comes from food, and more than half of that figure comes from animal products.

Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the University of Oxford, the World Resources Institute, WWF, and the UK government’s committee on climate change have all said people need to eat less meat in order to help the planet.

Sweden ranks first in the EU for the amount of organic food eaten, leads the way in recycling drinks cans and bottles, and gets the highest share of its energy from renewable sources.

A lot of Swedish companies are also being mindful of the environment, and ensuring their work isn’t having a detrimental effect on our planet.

We take a look at the four coolest Swedish food and drink companies with some serious eco credentials.

Sproud pea milk

We need new sources of protein that work for us, and the planet. Sproud creates vegan products, powered by peas! Peas are nutritious, pure and have a low carbon footprint. Sproud was founded in 2018 by a group of entrepreneurs based in Malmö in the south of Sweden. The company strives to make foods and proteins that are nutritious, healthy and delicious.

As people’s knowledge of plant-based food deepens, there is a move towards finding better sources of protein. Sources that have a minimal carbon footprint, come with clean processes, and produce nutritious and delicious products. Compared to previous generations of plant-based products, based on soy, nuts and grains, the pea is superior in every way. It needs less water to grow and contains loads of protein that it’s possible to extract without chemical solvents.

Sproud’s products are made of protein from dry yellow peas cultivated in Europe, where the protein is also extracted. The supply chain is local and short. Sproud’s products are all made in Sweden, and in the future there are plans to use peas cultivated in Sweden too.

Sproud’s pea milk has no dairy, gluten, or soy. It’s non-GMO and has no cholesterol or allergens. On top of that, it’s low in sugar and fat. Pea protein contains the essential amino acids your body requires, along with other benefits. It can lower ghrelin, which is the hormone that notifies your brain when you’re hungry. So pea protein can keep you feeling fuller for longer.

There are other studies that show pea protein can benefit your health, including potentially lowering blood pressure and helping your heart health. Diabetics can also drink pea milk to keep blood sugar stable, as it won’t give you a blood sugar spike. On top of that, pea protein doesn’t require a lot of water, land consumption, or unnecessary spraying or fertilising to produce, so it’s good for the planet too.


Every year, a third of all food produced globally is thrown away. Karma is exercising a ‘waste not, want not’ ethos and giving consumers the chance to pick up food that would otherwise go to waste from their local favourite restaurants, cafes and kitchens at a 50 per cent discount, via their app.

With Karma, the choice is yours; consumers know exactly what they are buying and have the opportunity to filter for vegetarian, vegan or dietary intolerances. Restaurants, cafes and grocery stores upload their surplus food to the app, then users search for local eateries, choose their meal and pay for the food instantly. The customer then picks up the food as takeaway within the specified time, at the location.

It’s currently used by 5 per cent of the Swedish population and is available in 150 Swedish cities. The app launched in London in 2018 and Paris in 2019.

The app’s 890,000 users and 6,300 partners have diverted an average of 650 tonnes of edible food from landfill (the equivalent of 51 double decker buses) and reduced CO2 levels caused by food waste by 980 tonnes. In April 2019, Karma reached the huge milestone of 1m items saved from the bin.

Karma is now expanding its mission to counteract food waste across the globe. It appears on the Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies List, Wired’s top 100 start-ups in Europe, the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and was name-checked by Barack Obama and the Obama Foundation in 2019.

The company’s co-founders are all serial entrepreneurs: Hjalmar Ståhlberg Nordegren (CEO), Mattis Larsson (CTO) and Ludvig Berling (CPO) previously founded Responster together. They met Elsa (COO) while co-founder ‘speed dating’ – she had previously founded Pop Fruits. Prior to this, Hjalmar was a medical doctor and Elsa worked at Chanel. They came together and founded Karma.

Max Burgers

Sweden’s super popular chain, Max Burgers (formerly known as Max Hamburgers) has made its entire menu climate positive. After working out the greenhouse emissions from all of its 130 restaurants, it is then compensating for them through carbon offsetting initiatives.

Back in 2008, Max was the first fast-food chain to carbon label its entire menu, the company switched entirely to wind power and started recycling all its cooking oil. Along with that, Max’s began planting trees in Africa to offset carbon emissions. It has to date, planted nearly two million.

In 2016, Max’s added a range of vegan and Lacto-ovo vegetarian burgers to its menu, which led to a 13 per cent reduction in climate impact per earned Krona, and there are plans to expand the company’s plant-based options even further. Max Burgers was founded in 1969 and has now expanded to Norway, Denmark, Poland and the United Arab Emirates.

The company is now tracking everything as part of its climate analysis, from farmers’ soil to staff and guest trips to and from the restaurants. The company has said to meet the UN’s sustainable development goal of capping global warming at two degrees Celsius, companies need to do more than just compensate for their emissions.


Solvatten is a portable water treatment and water heater system designed for off-grid household use in the developing world. It’s an easy, innovative solution that provides access to clean, hot water to people throughout the world.

Millions of mostly women and children walk dozens of miles every day to fetch water and firewood. Solvatten has an average lifespan of seven to 10 years, which is the critical time when children are at their most susceptible to waterborne diseases. The Solvatten system makes water safe and hot, meaning it can be used for a number of household and hygiene purposes. It’s good for cooking, hand washing, bathing and domestic cleaning. Once the water has been purified, it can be stored in the shade and then people will also have access to cooler water.

The company is the brainchild of Swedish inventor, Petra Wadström. The story began in Australia in the early 1990s, where Petra was living with her husband Carl and their family. The Wadströms worked in both medical science and arts fields.

The charitable foundation, Solvatten was founded in 2013, to improve the lives of people, mainly women and children who live without access to safe water. Living in Australia, Petra was struck by the amount and the power of natural sunlight and was convinced it must be possible to harness its strength to help people in poverty.

Sunlight can both purify and heat water, which is key. After successful initial trials of the device, several field visits took place throughout Africa and Asia to see how viable the creation was in a variety of contexts. Today, Solvatten is used in more than 20 countries around the world, reaching more than 260,000 people.

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