“In recent years, berries and blueberries (highbush blueberries) have seen a spectacular increase in the Norwegian market and tomatoes are no longer just tomatoes, the range has become very wide.“
“The Norwegian government’s policy is that organic fruit and vegetables should reach a market share of 15%.”
As general secretary of the Norwegian Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers, Oddmund Østebø knows Norway’s fruit and vegetable sector inside out. Relative to the rest of Europe, the country’s relatively small population – just over 5 million – has very high spending power but a low rate of fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and is highly dependent on imports.
What are some of the features of the Norwegian market?
Oddmund Østebø: The Norwegian fruit and vegetable market consists of 5 million consumers and is thus the size of the Danish and Finnish markets.
About 70% of Norway’s fruit and vegetable turnover is derived from imports – with Spain is by far the main supplier – and 30% Norwegian production. In recent years, berries and blueberries (highbush blueberries) have seen a spectacular increase in the Norwegian market and tomatoes are no longer just tomatoes, the range has become very wide.
What do you do in regard to marketing?
Generic fruit and vegetables marketing in Norway is mainly driven by the Norwegian Marketing Board for Fruit and Vegetables, whose main activity is the promotion of Norwegian produce.
But it is important to promote fruits and vegetables year-round, also in the import season of individual products. The vision for the future of marketing will be “Fruit and vegetables – naturally for all meals.” This will be achieved by increasing the knowledge of fruit and vegetables in all segments of the market.
What is happening in regard to organic and sustainable production?
Norwegian consumers consider regular mainstream products as very good. This means interest in organic fresh produce is not as high as in many other countries. However, the Norwegian government’s policy is that organic fruit and vegetables should reach a market share of 15%.
The organic products that have a certain market share of the total market are carrots and potatoes, otherwise the market share for organic products is low in Norway. There is a growing demand for certain organic products, especially staples like apples, carrot, potato, cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers. These products are relatively cheap for the consumer, and it is easier to sell organic products.
This is a short version of a full page interview which can be read online here on page 13 of edition 134 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.