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Conference paper2009Peer reviewed

From Agricultural Commodity to Differentiated Horticultural Delicacy - the Potato in Sweden

Spendrup, S.; Ekelund, L.


The Swedish supermarket potato assortment is in general dominated by a limited assortment of unpacked potatoes in large bins, in combination with pre-packed organic potatoes. This lack of diversification is most surprising since the potato has had an important role in the Swedish dietary customs for about 200 years. During the last forty years, consumption has decreased and other products (staple carbohydrates) such as pasta, rice and bulgur have gained market shares from the potato. Our material is based on ten phone interviews and was conducted in September 2007. The information is also received in contacts with the industry and through participation at several meetings with industry representatives.Despite recent development towards an increased assortment our results show that half of the responding managers believe that the potato consumption will decrease even more in the near future. But the results also imply that a continuing development of the product is necessary since many consumers ask for more convenient alternatives. A majority of the interviewed managers believe that a development within this segment could increase the sales volume and they especially point out the urge to improve the design of the packages. The recent introduction of new products may be constrained by the fact that the existing situation, dominated by unpacked potatoes, is regarded as superior. The development is also restrained by the retailers' low expectations and the fact that potato is considered as a bulk product. This attitude among retailers is reflected by the very limited marketing efforts concerning potatoes. Extra sales activities are very rare and they are primarily concentrated to national holidays. If the potato industry wants to increase the profitability they probably need to differentiate the product. New consumption patterns also imply a need to develop the product towards more convenient alternatives. An increased differentiation run by producers/packers would probably increase the bargaining power of these actors in relation to the retail sector.


competition; supermarket; marketing

Published in

Acta Horticulturae
2009, Volume: 831, number: 831, pages: 339-343 Title: XVI International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management
ISBN: 978-90-66054-29-5, eISBN: 978-90-6605-429-5
Publisher: ISHS


16th International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management, JUN28, 2009, Chiang Mai, THAILAND