Over 50 specialist Swedish food firms – many of them organic and KRAV certified  – have written to the bosses of the country’s biggest supermarket chains urging them to free up shelf space for their products, as demand from their usual outlets dries up amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Many small food companies in Sweden sell most of their produce to cafés, restaurants and conference facilities – venues that have seen a sharp downturn in business since the arrival of the pandemic. Some have seen demand come to a complete halt. 

“That’s why we appeal to you,” the letter says, “the large, well-connected grocery retailers to add our products – quality, local Swedish produce and finished products – to your shelves, and give them vital visibility and exposure at this crucial time”. 

The companies say that Sweden’s whole food culture is nurtured and nourished by passionate, local growers and producers. 

The letter writers ask the supermarket heads – Anders Svensson at ICA, Magnus Johansson at Coop, Johan Augustsson at Lidl, Håkan Åkerström at Bergendahls, Klas Balkow at Axfood and Mariette Kristensson at Reitan – “Do we want to keep small Swedish food producers who work in harmony with nature, care more about animal health and switch to organic farming to promote biodiversity, clean water and living soils?”

“Many of us will not be here next year unless we get our consumers back quickly. But if we can quickly reach agreements with the grocery trade – listings, long-term agreements and guaranteed volumes – there is even the potential for many in the local food industry to hire more staff during the crisis, instead of conceding defeat”.  

Main image: ICA supermarket. Photo/KRAV.

The Nordic Organic Food Fair takes place in Malmö, Sweden, on 11-12 November 2020.