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Organic product sales slump in Sweden

Organic product sales slump in Sweden

Published: 09 Dec 2012 10:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2012 10:35 GMT+01:00

While sales of organic food have increased steadily in Sweden in the past few years, in 2012 supermarket chains Coop and Axfood saw no growth, while Ica reported a three percent drop in sales in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2011.

It is primarily becoming rarer for customers to choose organic milk.

"Factors that could affect sales are, for instance, the economic climate and that customers are focusing on cheaper products," Maria Smith, Ica's head of environment and social responsibility, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Overall, sales of organic products have more than doubled at Ica since 2007, so this year has been an anomaly.

Axfood spokesman, Ingmar Kroon, believes sales are affected by the public debate around the environment.

"The climate change debate has been down for a couple of years. If the environment and climate change receive a lot of media attention, then that has an impact," explained Kroon.

"Considering the recent reports about a four degree temperature rise and the catastrophic impact of that, perhaps the debate will kick off again. Then organic sales could see a jump," he added.

Out of the big supermarket chains in Sweden, Coop has the largest assortment of organic products, with just over 2,500 items and a 5.5 percent sales rate. Louise König, Coop's head of sustainable development, said sales remained constant in 2012.

After investing in organic milk, aiming to double production from 10 to 20 percent by 2015, dairy giant Arla has had surplus of produce this year.

The company increased production by 12 percent in 2012, but total sales of organic milk in Sweden went down by seven percent.

Krav, the organization that develops organic standards in Sweden, hopes that supermarkets will start displaying organic produce more prominently in the shops.

"When products are displayed better we immediately see a growth in sales," Krav spokeswoman Kristin Kooper told Sydsvenskan.

TT/The Local/nr

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Your comments about this article

11:50 December 9, 2012 by Svensksmith
The organic market is a limited market to begin with. Most consumers don't know the difference or don't care. The rise in fast food chains can attest to that. And, of course, there is the price difference. Myself, I'd rather pay more upfront for healthy food than pay later for medicine.
13:09 December 9, 2012 by just a question
Well, watch "Earthlings". After that, you will know what to buy and what not.
15:26 December 9, 2012 by Eric1
In most cases organic foods aren't better for you, just more costly. They are mostly feel good foods, and in some cases organic is dangerous, So I had rather pay less for food and less for future medical care.
17:38 December 9, 2012 by k2kats
Since eating synthetic pesticides and synthetic preservatives is never a healthy option, it is not a good cost cutting strategy.
18:46 December 9, 2012 by Acta
Seriously dude, I have no idea what are the differences and benefits between organic milk and normal milk. This products might need little more advertisement....
22:17 December 9, 2012 by just a question
Basically when you buy organic milk, you buy it from farmers that have treated cows with respect, and that the cows are living in a healthy environment. When you buy anything that is not organic, probably it has been produced from an animal that has suffered and a lot of chemicals have been used in their composition/production
07:02 December 10, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I buy organic whenever possible. The Swedish market for organic is not well developed at all. It has a long way to go.
23:12 December 12, 2012 by pietradelmundo
Eric1; there is little difference in terms of health, but organic is more expensive because the price includes externalities like increase in carbon sequestration in the soil, higher biodiversity, higher animal welfare, which in the long run is better for our health. Organic is not dangerous, that is a myth. Future medical care will not increase because of organic food consumption, rather the opposite. I eat organic and I am very healthy!
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