Sweden's enthusiasm for organics
Lee Holdstock - 09 November 2012
OK, so it's a smaller population, but the average Swede is spending the equivalent of £63 a year on organic products. That's twice as much as we spend in the UK. Danes spend even more - in fact three times as much as UK shoppers.
The world’s leading organic data house, Organic Monitor, tells us that organic food in the UK represents just 2% of our food spending, whereas in Denmark and Sweden it accounts for more than 5% of all food bought. And both those organic markets are continuing to grow.
So it's not hard to understand why the UK-based organisers of London’s Natural and Organic Products show have established a sister show in Sweden's up-and-coming southern city of Malmo. Part of our role at Soil Association Trade Support is to support our licensees getting a foothold in overseas markets, so it made sense to check out the show in its first year.
170 exhibitors and more than 2,000 visitor at Malmo's brand new Massan exhibition centre – it certainly felt busy. But not too rushed for deeper conversations with distributors, who expressed lots of interest in UK organic products, especially the quirky brands that have what they see as a 'typically British' appeal.
Much of the region’s organic market seems to be commanded by small chains of independents, often run by younger Scandinavians looking for quality with a point of difference for their customers.
Geographical convenience, good infrastructure and regulatory similarities: UK brands already exhibiting at the show regard Scandinavia as a good first-market for those new to exporting. Perhaps I’ll see you in Malmo next October…
We want to help more of our licensees to get a foothold into this market, so we’re looking at taking a pavilion at next year’s show. We’re also looking at showcasing Soil Association products in 2013/2014 at the US Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, and Expo West in Anaheim, California.
Do contact me if this kind of cost-effective export exposure could be helpful for you.
Lee Holdstock is Trade Relations Manager for Soil Association Certification.