Strong growth in organic food sales look set to propel Sweden it into the exclusive group of counties where organic exceeds the “magic” 10% level of total food and drink sales.
New data from analyst Ekoweb shows that organic food sales rose 7-8% in the first half of 2017, taking organic’s share of total food consumption to 9.3%. Growth in public sector, food service and the state-owned alcoholic drinks operator Systembolaget has been particularly strong
Following a number of years of exceptionally rapid market growth, this year’s solid performance by the organic market is seen as evidence of Swedish consumers’ continued interest in organic. “Sweden is beginning to belong to the exclusive group of countries around the world that have passed the magic 10% market level,” says Cecilia Ryegård, chief analyst at Ekoweb.
While the growth rate this year is significantly lower than in previous years, volumes are encouragingly high. Ekoweb predicts if sales continue to increase at the current rate, Swedes will spend 27.4 billion kronor in 2017.
Ekoweb says that a lack of availability in the early part of 2017 of certain organic products limited growth – but points to big opportunities for the future. “All major players are increasing their organic food sales. But the increase could have been double if all the desired commodities were available and reached the shelves of the stores,” says Ryegård.
“Swedes, it says, want to buy Swedish, local and organic – or Svekologically”
Ekoweb says there has been a noticeable change in focus in the marketing of organic food in retail channels. Swedes, it says, want to buy Swedish, local and organic – or ‘Svekologically’. Buying local, in particular, is an increasingly strong impulse for Swedish consumers. Health and sustainability are also important purchasing motivators. To that end, says Ryegård, there is a real opportunity for organic brands to tell a wider story about their products. “Ecological, or organic, is just a part of the message that you want to convey in campaigns, and that’s a clear difference compared with the past.”
Picture: Paradiset Organic Market, Stockholm
• The Nordic Organic Food Fair – the only organic food & drink trade show hosted in the Nordic region – takes place on 15-16 November 2017 at MalmöMässan, Sweden. For information about visiting or exhibiting visit nordicorganicexpo.com