The Nordic Food Fair attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world giving Scandinavia and Europe’s finest organic producers an opportunity to showcase their products on an international stage.
The exhibition is held at the Malmomassan conference centre about a 10 minute walk from Hyllie train station in the greater Malmo area, just over the Oresund Bridge which you crime thriller enthusiasts may know from the Danish/Swedish TV series.
I went in search of ‘Hot Leads’ – in the entirely work related sense of the word – and to see what potential there was in the land of Jante Law, The Vikings and 1/12th of Europe’s current standing monarchies.
After an early start on Sunday morning avoiding the remnants of Saturday night at Clapham Junction train station, I eased my way through Gatwick like a hot knife through butter, arriving in Copenhagen surrounded by incredible pastries and ridiculously good looking people. I made my way to the platform to hop on the Oresundstag to Sweden.
Once at the fair, I grabbed my show guide and set off with pen in hand to plan my route around the labyrinth of exhibitors. From wine estates in Portugal to Icelandic tea producers, it left me with a real sense of how diverse the show is. Making some good contacts and sampling some interesting foods I meandered through the aisles stopping by and chatting to pretty much everyone I could.
I had been given a promotional ‘show bag’, a little like our cotton printed C01 bags for life at the start which always come in handy with all the leaflets and business cards I acquired.
Before I knew it the show was over and I made my way on foot to find the hotel.
The next morning I made my way to a meeting I had arranged with Malmo’s equivalent of Wholefoods. Green Matmarknad is situated just north of the city in the business district. I met a lovely Argentinian lady who I had sold bags for life to around 6 months earlier. The place was fantastic and showed the Swedes really know how to ‘do it ’.
Some valuable lessons we in the UK should take note of. The space is enormous, the size of any Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s you see in the UK, but it’s kitted out like the smartest Farm Shop cum Deli cum food hall, you’ve ever seen. Pristine in appearance, but Rocio explained this was a relatively new concept in Sweden and they weren’t many companies, if any doing what they were doing. This was definitely the highlight of my trip.
After a couple of organic cinnamon twirls I headed back to the Nordic Food Fair to cover off the remainder of exhibitors.
I would recommend the Nordic Food Fair to anyone producing artisan and organic products in the UK such as charcuterie which is heavily sought after in the Swedish Market. Further information can be found at krav.se who work very closely with the Soil Association developing Organic standards in Sweden. Not to mention the lovely hearty food and kindness you don’t often see here in the UK!
A few things UK retailers could learn from the Swedes:
- There is a real honesty about the Swedes and the way they do business, it reflects in the quality of their food and the way it is displayed.
- The bigger the better. If you have a good retail space, use it! The swedes don’t do small.
- Sweden has been ranked the 5th happiest nation in the world for a reason. Smile, be nice and eat organic. We could all learn from these tall blond Scandinavians.