The popular tradition of real Swedish strawberries at midsummer is under threat this year, as an increasing number of markets are repackaging foreign strawberries and selling them off as Swedish.
“We have taken a few samples and they're on the way to Germany for analysis,” said Waldemar Ibron of the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
While there have been favourable conditions for berry-growing in Sweden's south lately, growers are furious that they're being undersold by dishonest packagers.
”People ask me why my berries are more expensive, and I explain how it is,” said one anonymous grower to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
“But I need proof too.”
According to the paper, it costs the typical berry-grower 11 kronor ($1.60) to produce one tub of strawberries – whereas foreign berries are being sold with a “grown in Sweden” label for just eight kronor.
However, despite the repackaging, it is still possible to differentiate between real and fake “Swedish” strawberries, according to DN.
Repackaged foreign berries will usually only say “Swedish berries” on them, whereas true Swedish berries will have details about origin, class, and who has produced them.
While Ibron laments that the pirate packagers will most likely never be caught due to the lengthy analysis time of three weeks, he is hopeful that one particular lead in southern Sweden may prove fruitful.
“We have one seller's identity so we can trace them if there's a good enough reason for it,” he told the paper.