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Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth

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Arla organic milk. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
10:03 CEST+02:00
Swedes are spending more and more of their food budget on organic foodstuffs, with major supermarkets reporting double digit increases, according to new statistics.
"Our calculation for the first half of the year indicates a total increase of 30 percent. These are quite amazing numbers," said Cecilia Ryegård, an independent analyst at Ekoweb. 
 
Organic certification organization Krav forecast that the full year figure will come in above 30 percent, more than twice as much as last year's 13 percent growth. 
 
The increase has been reported by all the major supermarket chains. Ica's organic sales shot up some 43 percent in the first six months of 2014, while Axfood, which owns the Willys and Hemköp chains, climbed 35 percent.
 
"Growth is high and the supply of goods has increased, which means that sales have expanded," said Lars Nellmer, Krav CEO.
 
Nellmer pointed out that the only threat to continued growth is that demand may exceed supply for certain goods.
 
"Especially for fruit and vegetables. Eggs have been scarce, but after the summer there will be several new producers."
 
Growth of 30 percent or more is an unattainable dream for many other industries. But for organic food, the increase is from very low levels with the sector making up a mere four percent of total food sales. 
 
Strong sales growth in 2013 was a breakthrough for the industry and the public sector was one key factor behind the boom.
 
Dairy products are meanwhile the clear driving force behind the sector, accounting for a third of the market.

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The largest dairy producer in Sweden, Arla, reported a 37 percent increase in organic milk sales during the first six months of 2013. The period thus made up for an unexpected collapse in demand in 2012.
 
"For us it's all time high for the milk. Many consumers start buying organic milk through, for there is the least economic sacrifice," said Ann Freudenthal, who is responsible for Arla's organic line. 
 
Organic milk costs an average of 2 kronor ($0.3) more than non-organic in Swedish grocery stores.

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