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Country report - Sweden

by Johan Cejie, KRAV

This article was originally written for the publication "Organic in Europe", published by the IFOAM EU Group in collaboration with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Switzerland, and the Mediterranean Institute for Agronomic Research CIHEAM-IAM, Bari, Italy.  

Key indicators 2012

  • Organic agricultural area: 477,685 hectares
  • Operators:
    • Organic producers: 5,601
    • Organic processors: 680
    • Organic importers: 218
    • Organic exporters: No data
  • Retail sales: EUR 917 million

Area and operator data: Eurostat, market data: Statistics Sweden (SBC).

History of organic farming

  • 1940: Biodynamiska Foreningen, the Biodynamic Organisation, located in Jarna, is founded
  • 1960-1970: The organisation Alternative Farming is active
  • 1985: KRAV is founded as an organisation to develop and promote organic standards
  • 1985: Ekologiska Lantbrukarna Organic Farmers Association is founded

Key sector institutions

Production base: land use and key crops

Of the 477,685 hectares of organic agricultural land

  • 74.4 % consists of arable land (including green fodder),
  • 22 % permanent grassland and grazing areas, and
  • 0.1 % permanent crops.

The key arable crops are green fodder from arable land (250,338 hectares),


The Swedish market has grown steadily in recent years. In 2012, however, there was a temporary stagnation. There is still high potential for the market to grow further. There is a lack of producers (mainly cereals) and of processed products. Public procurement (e.g. schools, hospitals, kindergartens, etc.) is currently a key driver of development and provides stability. This is driven by political decisions at both national and local levels. The organic market lost ground in the first half of 2012, but it recovered in the second half of the year. Preliminary reports for 2013 indicate growth of between 5 and 10 %.

  • Top-selling products: Dairy products (33 % of the organic market), followed by fruit/vegetables (25 %), coffee, tea, and dry products (20 %).
  • Market channels: 55 % of organic products are sold by general retailers, followed by the public sector (17 %), Systembolaget (spirits, wine and beer monopoly, 17 %), hotels and restaurants (8 %) and other channels (8 %).
  • Exports and imports: No data available. Sweden appears to be a net importer of organic goods.

Standards, legislation, organic logo

EU legislation on organic farming and other regulations is legally binding, and responsibility for oversight is shared by four governmental agencies: Jordbruksverket, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, governs agriculture; Livsmedelsverket, the Swedish Food Administration, governs processing and some marketing issues; Komsumentverket, the Swedish Consumer Agency, governs issues related to consumer marketing; and Swedac, the Swedish Accreditation Board, accredits the control bodies. There are six control and certification bodies. There is no governmental organic logo other than the EU logo. The KRAV logo is a private label, and it is used on about 80 % of organic products.KRAV promotes values that go beyond the EU legislation in terms of climate protection, animal welfare, social accountability and health.

Policy support

  • National action plan: A national goal to be achieved in 2014 is for 20 % of agricultural land to be certified organic. Furthermore, there is also the target for 25 % of food procurement in the public sector to come from organic sources in 2013. The debate is currently ongoing as to whether a new target should be set.
  • Support under the EU rural development programme: Supports activities that contribute to organic production. Programmes for 2014 and the coming years have yet to be set up, so little can be said about the new system at present.

Research & advice

The main institutions conducting research for organic agriculture are the Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU), with its interdisciplinary centre EPOK, the Centre for Organic Food and Farming, www.slu.se/epok, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Forestry and Agriculture, which houses the platform Ekologiskt Forum Organic Forum. Advice is provided to operators by a number of private, institutional and governmental structures. One of the oldest and largest of these organisations is Hushallningssallskapet.

Challenges & outlook

Currently, there is a surplus of beef and lamb, but a shortage of cereals. A number of organizations have set ambitious targets for market development. The distribution of products is good, but there is still a need for increased consumer awareness and willingness to switch to organic.

Further information

For other relevant websites, see the sections on key sector institutions and research & advice.


Johan Cejie
Bio Certification (controle - inspection)
Box 1037
751 40 Uppsala
Tel.: +461 815 8900
Fax: +461 813 8040