• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden boasts better food than Italy: report

David Landes · 16 Jan 2014, 17:24

Published: 16 Jan 2014 15:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Jan 2014 17:24 GMT+01:00

Every year, hordes of Swedes flock to Italy, Spain, and Greece in search not only of sunlight, but also a chance to indulge in fresh pasta, savoury tapas, or tasty feta cheese.

But hungry Swedes may be better off staying home and stuffing themselves with meatballs and herring, a new Oxfam global food index published on Wednesday reveals.

Sweden was placed fourth among 125 countries, sharing the spot with Denmark, Austria, and Belgium, and ahead of Italy, Spain, and Greece.

I'm thrilled,"  Madeleine van der Veer, spokeswoman for Rural Affairs Minister Eskil Erlandsson, told The Local. "I've always known that Swedish food is good enough to make Sweden Europe's premier country when it comes to food."

SEE ALSO: Ten Swedish foods to remember

The ranking, which compares countries based on food quality, availability, and price, found the Netherlands to be the "best place to eat".

European countries dominated the top of the rankings but Australia made it into the top ten, to tie with Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Luxembourg at number eight. The United Kingdom was tied at 13th, with the United States landing in 21st place.

For the last five years, Sweden has been engaged in a proactive campaign to raise the country's profile as a culinary nation.

The campaign was launched back in 2008 with Erlandsson boasting that the 'Matlandet Sverige' campaign was "going to put Sweden on the world map as a country of good food".

Since the launch of the campaign, the number of food-related companies in Sweden has risen by ten percent, according to figures from the ministry.

In addition, Sweden's food exports are up 23 percent since 2008, bucking a general trend of slumping exports in the wake of the financial crisis.

Van der Veer sees the growth in Sweden's food industry and the Oxfam ranking as evidence that the world is starting to notice Swedish food.

"I'm convinced that the Matlandet campaign has helped draw attention to Swedish food," she said. "Today, 'foodies' choose to travel to Sweden to try fermented herring (surströmming), reindeer, and new restaurants both in the cities and in rural areas."

IN PICTURES: Top ten googled foods in Sweden

While the initiative may have failed to deliver when it comes helping spur jobs and economic growth in rural areas, the government's efforts have raised the profile of Swedish cuisine abroad, with a wave of Swedish-themed eateries popping up in New York and London in recent years.

"It's exciting to see how we've succeeded in exporting the 'fika', cinnamon buns, crisp bread, and meatballs," said van der Veer. 

Story continues below…

Oxfam compiled the report to draw attention to inequality in access to healthy and affordable food around the world.

“Poverty and inequality are the real drivers of hunger. Hunger happens where governance is poor, distribution weak, when markets fail,” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement. “Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys.”

As well as affordability and health, the index weighed up the percentage of malnourished children, the diversity of food as well as food-related health problems like diabetes and obesity.

The rankings were based on figures from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Foundation, the International Labour Organization and other international organizations. 

DON'T MISS: Ten soul-satisfying Swedish comfort foods

Related links:

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden loses fastest internet crown
Good luck untangling those. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman /SvD /TT

Worse still, the new European king is Norway.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden tonight
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

The Local List
These are the brands Swedes love the most
What brands do the Swedes love the most? Photo: Per Groth/Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/Pontus Lundahl/TT

Revealed: Swedes' top-20 favourite brands.

Spotify launches new karaoke style streaming in Japan
Can karaoke help Spotify to crack Japan? Photo: DocChewbacca/Flickr creative commons

The Swedish streaming giant has taken inspiration from Japan's love of karaoke with its launch in the country.

US rappers' gig ends in 'bloodbath' in Stockholm
US rapper Ghostface Killah. Photo: Scott Roth/Invision/AP

A man ran onto the stage during a concert by US rappers Ghostface Killah and Killah Priest in Stockholm.

Border checks
Could Sweden's border controls soon be lifted?
The border control at the Swedish side of the Öresund Bridge to Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

The EU-approved six-month extension of controls in the south of the country will soon come to an end.

'Homemade bomb' on bus in Sweden was bike helmet
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A bicycle helmet sparked a bomb scare on a bus in Uppsala.

What's on in Sweden
Four don't-miss festivals in Sweden this week
Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. Photo: Stockholm Öl & Vin AB

Arab cinema, Gay Pride, out-of-the-box art, whisky and craft beer – what more could a person in Sweden possibly need?

Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,960
jobs available