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Sweden: Organic consumption up 30%

Two out of three Swedish consumers want to increase their purchases of organic products according to a survey conducted by Schibsted/Inizio on behalf of Svenska Dagbladet. Consumer demand has however not been met with a corresponding increase in production. The result is that the major retail chains warn of increasing imports.

The responses show that 64% want to increase their purchases of organic products, while only 4% want to reduce such purchases.

Among the main reasons to buy organic, health is the most important for 27% of the respondents, while the environment and climate are in second place with 25%. In third place, consideration to plants and animals is stated as the main reason to buy organic for 20% of the respondents.

But there is one factor that is even more important to consumers. When asked what is most important when having to choose what to purchase, 67% responded that the product should be "locally produced". 16% said "organic" and 11% "fair trade."

Consumers were also asked whether it matters if the organic goods are not produced in Sweden, but imported. 76% of respondents said it is either very or somewhat important. Another 11% believe that such imports are important.

About half of all organic products sold in Sweden are imported; at least, that's the proportion for dairy products, while some goods are always imported, such as coffee, bananas and cocoa.

According to a survey from the Organic Food Centre, there is a great shortage of Swedish-produced organic food, not only basic foods, such as potatoes, bread, flour or meat, but greenhouse grown vegetables and Swedish fruit, like apples, pears, strawberries and raspberries are also among the Swedish organic products that are difficult to obtain.

It is not clear from the study why consumers prefer local products. A possible explanation may be that the EU organic rules do not fully reflect the KRAV regulations, but also the long-term impact of transport on climate, and perhaps a wish for a greater reliance on Swedish producers.

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