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FOODS in SWEDEN

  • April 2016
  • 47 pages
  • EC Strategy & Analytics
Report ID: 3795738

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Market Overview


- Sweden represents a wealth of opportunities for foods companies -- brand extensions, organic variants, convenience, premium and sustainability are key drivers behind growth
- The economic landscape is robust. Unemployment is low. The population is ageing, yet it is dynamic
- Food retail sales are driven by simplicity in terms of number of players per category; often two or three local players and one or two international food manufacturers
- Product ranges move away from simplicity. They become broader and wider, running the risk to confuse consumers at time because the same brand exists in many different alternatives. While a broad choice of flavours is expected for jam, it might not be necessary for breakfast cereals or bread or yoghurt
- Local companies like Orkla, Lantmännen, Fazer, Pågen, Skånemejerier, Sia Glass more often than not, dominate the Swedish food market
- From comprehensive store observations, EC Strategy & Analytics estimates that two thirds of shelf-space are dedicated to Swedish and other Scandinavian plus Finnish players
- International players such as Unilever, Heinz, Kellogg’s, Quaker, Mars maintain a strong presence in their market footprint -- Unilever with condiments, soup or ice cream, Kellogg’s and Quaker with breakfast cereals and Mars with confectionery, rice and sauces
- World leader Nestlé has a limited presence in Sweden, only chocolate countlines, ice cream, breakfast cereals and baby food
- Marabou, now owned by Mondelez, is still considered Swedish. Generations of Swedes grew up with Marabou Choklad, making it a cultural corner stone in Swedish households
- All that said, there is room for new entrants with the right offer -- healthy snacking, convenience, innovation or premium products do well in Sweden
- Retailers face an increasing competition from on-line players. Multi-channels strategies become increasingly essential to maintain and grow retail shares. Creativity, fun and convenience are key drivers
- Leading retailer ICA offers an app where shopping lists are sorted according to products location in stores, optimising time spent on-site. Admittedly, the app reduces impulse purchases
- Households are equipped with large fridges even in 60m2 flats in large cities. Swedes like their weekly food shopping, typically off a well-prepared list
- Organic food (eko in Swedish) is strong and commands higher retail prices. Each product range ought to feature an organic variant
- Price variations by brand and by point of sale vary significantly according to product sizes and sales channel, with higher prices in smaller convenience stores. Concretely, Den Gamle Fabrik 400g (jam owned by Orkla) is marketed at SEK58.75 per kg at ICA Maxi and at SEK78.75 at Coop Nära; obviously a SEK20 per kg or 34% variation. On the other hand, Den Gamle Fabrik 400g is marketed at SEK64.88 per kg at both ICA Supermarket and ICA on-line
- Swedes have a good understanding of health issues and exercise daily. Eating is part of a balanced lifestyle and clever buying behaviour
- Swedish consumers are constantly connected. They want answers “now”. This presents interesting (and complex?) challenges for food manufacturers in terms of brand communication and its control for instance
- Skånemejerier is doing a fantastic job of engaging with consumers via social media or apps. Swedes can check the farm where milk in the fridge is coming from using the Skånemejerier app (and a set of characters showing up on the packaging)
- Swedish meat is favoured over neighbour Danish’s (or other countries) because the usage of antibiotics is lower, implying healthier and higher meat quality
- Strong food traditions are anchored in a vast majority of households. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are preferably enjoyed together with family (or friends), even with growing hectic lifestyles and a high rate of single households
- EC Strategy & Analytics predicts a 3% growth of the foods retail sales in the coming 12 to 24 months thanks to innovative and healthy products, and a prosperous economy

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