For several years, the locally and locally produced food has grown in popularity. This is especially noticeable on store shelves where many products today are marketed based on their origin, for example grain from the Västgötaslätten or beans from Öland.
In addition, we are seeing a growth in REKO rings, farm shops and digital platforms for direct sales between consumers and producers. In parallel with this development, the locally produced food has gained a renewed relevance after the drought in the summer of 2018 and most recently during the spread of the coronavirus. The first edition of Ecological Trend Report takes its starting point in these trends and examines what the growing craze for local and locally produced food means for the eco-market in Sweden. What challenges and opportunities does it create? What are the success examples? And how can we take advantage of them to promote resilient and sustainable consumption and production?
Four trends behind the growth of locally produced
1. Krav on origin marking
In the wake of various scandals and food fraud have kravone on the origin labeling of food has grown ever stronger. According to a 2012 survey, as many as 90% of consumers in the EU want to know where their meat comes from. In Sweden and many other countries, there is also a strong will to promote the countryside by choosing locally and locally produced food.
That clear labeling of the country of origin of the raw material is one of the most important aspects for consumers is confirmed by a survey conducted by Kantar Sifo on behalf of Axfood. The food companies also believe that the demand for locally and locally produced produce will increase. It shows the Organic Producer Barometer, which Organic Sweden and KRAV launched in the spring of 2020.
2. Climate commitment focuses on transport
The growing commitment to the climate issue has led more consumers to ask themselves where the food they eat is produced and how far it is transported. One result of this development is that more companies have taken a stand and introduced so-called "no-fly policy", which means that no raw material should have been transported by air. In addition, more and more farmers have started to cultivate Swedish equivalents to imported crops, for example the cultivation of gray peas to replace chickpeas. Others have succeeded in introducing crops from other countries that thrive in Sweden, such as lupine and quinoa that usually grow in South America.
3. Increased krav on emergency preparedness benefits locally
After the extreme drought in the summer of 2018, which in many parts of the country led to crop failure and historically low harvest levels, the debate about the degree of self-sufficiency and the sustainability of Swedish agriculture gained new momentum. This led to more and more people opening their eyes to Swedish agriculture. In a survey by Kantar Sifo carried out on behalf of Land Lantbruk, every fifth consumer stated that they had chosen to buy more Swedish meat and a larger proportion of Swedish-produced food after the drought.
The willingness to pay for Swedish food also increased as a result of the drought according to another survey from the From Sweden label. The spread of the coronavirus to Sweden meant that the issue of self-sufficiency gained new relevance. In mid-March, one could read about how the spread of the virus revealed shortcomings in Swedish food supply and preparedness. Self-sufficiency in food has fallen since the 90s and today it is 50 percent, which can be compared with our neighboring country Finland, where the same figure is 80 percent, according to LRF.
4. Food with an identity
The growth of REKO rings, farm shops, the farmer's market and digital platforms where consumers can buy food directly from the farmer, without intermediaries, are some of many examples of a growing interest in food with a clear identity. Another sign of this development is the emergence of different grower networks and common brands for food from a certain geographical area, e.g. Sju gårdar which offers KRAV-marked milk from Uppland or Wästgötarna, which is a growing network for KRAV-marked grain from Västergötland.
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Download the report here Ecological Trend Report - The new local
Photo: Nordic Raw Material