These are the main trends highlighted by market research Euromonitor in a Health and Wellness report published in July 2010.
Switch to high fat
According to the report, more and more Swedish consumers are switching from low-fat to high-fat products in order to lose weight, picking up on a trend that was noticeable several years ago, but that has since accelerated.
“The trend has been spurred by diets such as the Atkins diet, and more recently by the LCHF diet, or the Low-Carb High-Fat diet. The Low-Carb High-Fat diet bears a resemblance to the Atkins diet, with the LCHF diet mainly promoted by the physician and popular blogger Annika Dahlqvist,” writes Euromonitor.
The LCHF, which diet promotes the use of saturated fats, has gained significant attention in the Swedish media, despite being regarded as controversial by many people, says the researcher.
In addition, consumers in Sweden as in several western European regions, particularly the UK, are also avoiding products containing certain additives regarded as harmful. These include trans fats, monosodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners.
“Eating naturally healthy food has been promoted by associations like Äkta Vara (Genuine Produce), among others. The founder of the association, Mats-Eric Nilsson, wrote two best-selling books in which he criticises the food industry for using too many additives. The publication of the books in 2007 and 2008 sparked a debate on the use of artificial additives in the Swedish media,” writes Euromonitor.
The report notes that many manufacturers in Sweden have started to respond to the increased demand for food and beverages that are free from artificial additives and, in 2009, Procordia Food announced that it would stop using monosodium glutamate in its products.
Organic and local
Organic foods and beverages continue to be important for Swedish consumers, with strong sales in 2009 despite the tightened economy. However, growth rates – which peaked in 2008 – have suffered from a lack of supply of organic ingredients,” said Euromonitor.
“The Swedish dairies have started to raise the prices they pay for organic milk in order to increase the number of organic dairy farmers. The supply of fresh organic bread has also suffered from the fact that large bakeries with a nationwide coverage are unwilling to bake organic bread, which is still baked in relatively small numbers. The mill and bakery Saltå Kvarn, which is specialised in organic and biodynamic bread, was planning to open a new bakery in the Stockholm region in 2010, and this will improve the availability of organic fresh bread.”
The increasing demand for organic food and beverages also led to a number of private label developments, noted the researcher.
In 2008, the grocery retailer ICA launched the organic label I Love Eco, which replaced the old brand ICA Ekologiskt. “However, the development of organic private label lines poses a threat to small and medium-sized manufacturers of organic food and beverages in particular.”
Swedish consumers have also started to seek out locally produced goods, as they become more concerned about their health or more environmentally conscious.
“Marketing the food as locally produced has become a new way for manufacturers to target such consumers.”
“The trend is expected to be boosted by the new climate label, which is being developed by, among others, KRAV, the organisation which is also developing the label for organic food. The first products with the new label are expected to appear in 2010. “