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Steady rise in fruit & veg imports in Nordic markets

Nordic countries import €1.74 billion in vegetables and €2.77 billion in fruit

Over the last 3 years, volumes have increased by 8% for vegetables and 5% for fruit.

Sweden and Norway are the top importers for both the fruit and vegetable categories.

Norway – €1.45 billion import market

In 2015, Norway imported 446,212 tons of vegetables with a value of €548.8 million and 543,311 tons of fresh fruit worth €904.7 million.

Norway is Scandinavia’s second biggest importer after Sweden and the steady growth in its fresh produce imports reached a peak last year. The most valuable fresh vegetable imports into Norway are tomatoes, worth €107.7 million, followed by cauliflower and cabbages at €54.8 million.

Most fresh vegetables in Norway come from Spain. In fruit, Norway is a big importer of citrus (129,628 tons) and apples and pears (111,038 tons). In 2015, 60% of Norway’s apples came from Italy.

In contrast to Sweden, supplied by the Netherlands, Norway imports more from Spain, with a total value of €92.9 million in 2014 and €116.9 million for fresh fruits. Dutch imports reached €74.94 million.

The number one partner in Scandinavia is Denmark, with €9.7 million of fresh produce traded.

Sweden – the leading Nordic fresh produce market

In 2015, Sweden imported 768,832 tons of fruit for a total value of €1.03 billion and 522,103 tons of fresh vegetables for a total value of €627.37 million.

Imports from European countries increased by 13.5% for vegetables and 18% for fruits on average. In 2015, Germany was the main supplier (€236.62 million), followed by Spain (€163.58 million).

The most popular imported vegetables in Sweden are tomatoes, with 89,135 tons, and potatoes, with 52,846 tons. Carrot volumes saw the most important rise (24%).

In the fruit category, citrus (144,751 tons), and apples and pears (112,439 tons) were the most traded with Sweden. Both represent almost 50% of the total volume of fruit imports. In 2015, the import trend is more focused on melons (+13%), bananas (+12%), apples and pears (+11%) and berries (+10%), while grapes decreased by 17%.

Denmark – sourcing more in the EU

In 2015, Denmark imported 440,498 tons of fruit for a total value of €657.8 million and 384,697 tons of fresh vegetables for a total value of nearly €357.6 million. Imports from European countries increased by 10% in volume, in contrast to imports from outside the EU, which dropped by 33%.

The most popular imported vegetables in Denmark are potatoes (€1.2 million in 2015), accounting for a third of the country’s total vegetable imports.

Denmark has supplied more tomatoes (+8%), cabbages (+8%), lettuce (+4%) and carrots (+13%).

Citrus is the top fruit import and import volumes have remained stable over the last 3 years (82, 529 tons in 2015). While banana import volumes fell by 9%, exotics and melons rose by 15% and 22% respectively from 2013 to 2015. 

Finland – addicted to fruit

Finnish imports of fresh produce are the lowest among Scandinavian countries. In 2015, Finland imported 339,060 tons of fruit for a total value of €432.5 million and 180,092 tons of vegetables for a total value of €241.16 million.

Some 96% of fresh produce imports come from European countries, although Finland is increasingly sourcing further afield for its exotics and bananas. In 2015, import values reached roughly €27.9 million from Germany, €72 million from Spain and €90.5 million from the Netherlands.

In 2015, Sweden was the top supplier for Finland (€17.3 million). Vegetable imports have fallen 4.5% over the last 3 years, while Finland has been sourcing more and more fruit, especially exotics: banana (+189%), dates, figs (+177%) and coconut (+21%).

In vegetables, potato imports have suffered considerably, with a fall of 46%, while onions and carrots dropped by 11% and 3% respectively.

SM 

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Hemköp on why berries matter so much to Scandinavia’s supermarkets

Scandinavian retailers are the frontrunners of the European berry market, as their fresh produce departments are responsible for no less than 13% of the total supermarket sales.

Scandinavian retailers are the frontrunners of the European berry market, as their fresh produce departments are responsible for no less than 13% of the total supermarket sales. So says a press release from berry giant Driscoll’s in which Hemköp sales manager Joakim Bäckstäde and Driscoll’s commercial director Wyard Stomp talk about why the high value berry shopper is here to stay and the potential of this promising market. Their interview is reproduced below.

What makes the berry category interesting?

Bäckstäde: “Berries are fresh, delicious and healthy. It’s fun to eat and share them with your family and friends. Furthermore they are impulse driven products. Buying berries can trigger other purchases, or as we like to say; berries have a lot of in-store ‘friends’, such as ice-cream, yoghurt and cake. By combining these products in the shelf, we stimulate cross-selling.”

Stomp: “Berries are a perfect match with recent consumer trends and can make any ordinary moment more special.”
 

Why is the berry shopper valuable?

Bäckstäde: “Next to berries they also love other premium products such as dairy and pastry, which makes them extra appealing for our supermarkets. I am positive that the berry shopper is the shopper of the future and will influence many other categories in a positive way.”

Stomp: “It’s our mission to gain the shopper’s trust by offering them delicious, fresh and beautiful berries all year round. This is something we can only do by working closely together with our retail partners.”

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Why are berries Sweden’s favourites?

Bäckstäde: “That’s simple, because they are healthy and tasteful! Scandinavian people really care about health and the environment. Berries remind them of the warm summer months and they fit very well with other popular Swedish products such as soured milk, yoghurt, quark and cottage cheese.”

How do you tempt shoppers to buy more berries?

Bäckstäde: “Recently we have installed special coolers in almost all new and renewed stores. This way our berries stay fresh for a longer period of time. By placing the coolers in premium spots in our supermarkets, shoppers cannot miss out on these fruits while visiting the store.”

Stomp: “We want to do more for our customers than just offering berries. That is why we support our partners with shopper insights and advise them on how to create a successful in-store berry presentation.”

How do you promote berries outside the local season?

Bäckstäde: “We promote berries at least once a month. This is something we do through our flyers, in-store promotions and our own social media accounts. By offering tasty recipes to our shoppers and making them aware of the joy that berries can bring to the table, we have already seen an impressive sales growth outside the regular season.”

What are you expectations of this promising category?

Bäckstäde: “I expect a lot of the berry category; a growth in demand and more packaging diversity, that will seduce shoppers to buy more berries. My personal goal is to have berries on full focus in all our stores every single day, not only during promotion periods.”

Stomp: “I will be proud as people at every office location and at every school around the world will enjoy berries during their lunch break.”

Read an interview with Daniel Månsson, Axfood’s general manager of fruit and vegetables, which also covers berries: Inside Swedish retail giant Axfood