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Growing Demand for Organic Food in Sweden

30 December 2014
BordBia

SWEDEN - The sale of organic food in Sweden has grown rapidly over the past year, and has spread throughout all food categories in the main supermarket chains, according to Nicolas Ranninger, the Stockholm Office Manager of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.

Analysis from Ekoweb forecasts that organic food sales will grow by 30 per cent in 2014.

Retail sales of organic food in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year are reported to have grown by 47 per cent for ICA, 46 per cent for Coop (Coop holds the largest organic food sales share) and by 54 per cent for Axfood.

Organic food sales account for about five per cent of total grocery sales in Sweden.

This is higher than the market share observed in Germany, but behind Austria and Denmark.

Swedish-produced meat, milk and eggs account for much of the increase in organic sales.

However, Swedish retailers are relying more and more on imports in order to respond to the growing demand, as over half of all organic foods on sale in Sweden are imported and this share is likely to increase as demand grows.

Eva Fröman of Ekomatcentrum, a network that lobbies for more consumption of organic food, has said: “There is a shortage of most products. Even products like organic apples and strawberries.

“Swedish farmers complain about the amount of food that is imported, but they don’t produce what consumers want.”

Nicolas Ranninger said it is evident that many consumers find it problematic to buy organic food that has been transported from far away countries, given the carbon footprint it entails.

Louise König, responsible for sustainability at Coop - KF (Kooperativa Föreningen) says surveys have revealed a clear preference among consumers for Swedish organic food, and that farmers should listen to this and adjust production to meet demand.

According to Ms König, the surveys have also revealed that consumers not only want to buy organic food for environmental reasons, but also because they regard it as a healthier choice. (Source SVD, 26/11/14.)

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