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Vos, Anne Dominique, 2022. The Future of Organic Food in Swedish Retail. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of People and Society



Human activity affects planetary systems that support living on Earth and the food systems is a large contributor to overstepping the planetary boundaries. Global and national sustainability aims include targets for organic food production, during the latest years many countries have grown their organic food market share. However, the Swedish organic food market share growth stopped in 2016. The purpose of this study is to understand why the decline of the Swedish market share growth occurred and what the future might hold for the organic food category. This qualitative study has aimed to find answers through interviews with initiated persons in the Swedish food system.
Results indicate that many changes in the political and societal landscape pressured the Organic food and the Organic food category transformed into the new Sustainability food category, presenting more competition for organic labelled food, together with plant-based, vegetarian and climate-friendly food. The rise of Swedish produced food, increasingly important from a national self-sufficiency and survival perspective, should be viewed as sustainable, and is also a competitor of organic food. The shine of organic food is often lost in the multi-faceted competition with the other sustainability and Swedish foods, but the market share has stayed at a stable level since 2016.
Looking to the future, the new sustainability food category in Sweden will contain organic food but also locally produced food, that has been produced with more effective and environmentally friendly methods. The Swedish climate presents difficulties for year-round agriculture and the aim to become more self-sufficient needs to include locally produced meat, dairy, vegetable, and plant-based foods, indicating a need to focus innovation and development on Swedish food production and conservation methods.
Socio-environmental sustainability aspects in Swedish food production, such as the unhealthy effects of mineral fertilizers and pesticide on all living species, should be integrated for the benefit of current and future generations and people in all stages of the food chain. In practice, government agencies in Sweden don’t cover all sustainability dimensions and have conflicting aims which indicates a need for an overarching sustainability initiative to conduct and optimise governmental sustainability activity, avoid silo-thinking and lead communication efforts. Legislation guidance is needed to keep food availability in Swedish retail stores sustainable and healthy.
The EU organic label and the KRAV label have not yet adapted to the local sustainability needs of Swedish food production and efficient production methods, indicating space for a new label or possibilities to renew the sustainability range of the existing labels.

Main title:The Future of Organic Food in Swedish Retail
Authors:Vos, Anne Dominique
Supervisor:Fernqvist, Fredrik
Examiner:Spendrup, Sara
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2022:23
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM028 Sustainable Food Systems - Master's Programme, 120.0hp
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:Organic food, Organic labelled food, sustainable food, organic labels, Swedish food retail, food legislation, food retail legislation, government agency sustainability
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Food science and technology
Deposited On:07 Jul 2022 08:07
Metadata Last Modified:25 Oct 2022 14:02

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