Panel discussion on Nordic Organic Food Fair about the market for organic in the Nordics' image' News
Panel discussion on Nordic Organic Food Fair about the market for organic in the Nordics

Sweden and Denmark belong to the world's "leading organic nations". Our eco-organizations met, together with Finland's Pro Luomu ry and Norway's Økologisk Norge under Nordic Organic Food Fair 16-17 November to discuss the development of organic in the Nordic countries.

Denmark has the highest eco share in the world with 13% of total consumption. Helle Borup Friberg, CEO of Økologisk Landsforening, highlighted the importance of producers and trade working together to broaden the range and offer consumers organic alternatives in all categories – both in the premium and low-price segment. Support from the political side, as well as cooperation with the Danish eco-organisations, has also been decisive for the positive market development.

In Sweden, the eco share is 8,9%, with a development that has leveled off in recent years. The successes in 2014–2017, when we had an "eco-boom" in the market, were very much about the grocery store driving sales by broadening the range, running campaigns and exposing the organic options in store. This at the same time as the producers worked with product development in many categories. The fact that we had ambitious political goals has also been decisive, not least for the positive development in the public sector.

At the moment, everyone is affected by inflation and increased food prices, which has effects on many consumers' ability to choose the organic alternatives to the extent they might want to. In a new consumer survey, we see that 27 percent of Swedish consumers are cutting back on their eco purchases as a way of managing a shrinking food budget. However, every other Swede says they want to buy MORE organic food in the future. It is a very positive signal that tells us that we must protect our organic production so that we will still have it when the economy turns.

We discussed what can be done going forward to promote positive development in our Nordic countries. Here we agreed that continued collaboration between producers, trade, politics and industry organizations is more important than ever. We also talked about the importance of more people seeing organic production as a priority tool in the transition to a sustainable food system – a production that contributes to more biodiversity, clean drinking water, living soil, extra good animal welfare and less CO2 emissions.

Participating in the panel were Markus Hustad, Økologisk Norway, Aura Lamminparras, Pro Luomu ry, Charlotte Bladh André, Organic Sweden and Helle Borup Friberg, Økologisk Landsforening. The moderator was Joanna Wierzabicka fromIFOAM Organics Europe who arranged the panel discussion.