Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Report2016Open access

Food chain sustainability in Sweden : value creation through research?

Eriksson, Mattias; Pano, Nathalie; Ghosh, Ranjan


The productivity in Swedish food sector has significantly increased during the last decades as has the capacity in distribution networks. Food company mergers combined with reductions in relative price on input resources has created a food production system that is economically more efficient. On the other hand, with some businesses growing disproportionately in comparison to others, a few big players dominate nearly the entire Swedish market. This is especially relevant in the retailing sector and raises concerns on distribution of bargaining power. This could potentially affect economic viability and innovation opportunities of smaller producers and businesses, although the direction of these effects is ambiguous. There are newer trends like private labelling, food frauds and presence of inefficient practices in the chain which need to be understood. There are also concerns such as low Swedish competitiveness, inefficient price pass through and food waste which need to be addressed. This way the sector is confronted with challenges whose interplay is unknown territory. In the face of a dynamic food sector and evolving consumer behavior, the previous successes of the Swedish food industry may have unintendedly become threats to its future sustainability. This report, therefore, scopes the need and potential for greater scientific investigation on challenges in Swedish food sector with the objective of augmenting the sustainability of the overall sector. In doing so, it describes the research front on sustainable food production from a value chain perspective with a focus on the retailer-supplier interface. The report concludes by discussing briefly some challenges and the related potential research directions. The aim is not to provide answers but to illustrate the potential of value creation through systematic analysis.


Value chain; Food industry; Retail; Market power; Innovation; Sustainable; Competitivness

Published in

Report / Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Economics
2016, number: 168
Publisher: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences