A-5/16 Quality turns in Nordic food: a comparative analysis of speciality food in Denmark, Norway and Sweden

This article compares the development of specialty food in Denmark, Norway and Sweden using a number of quantitative indicators as well as a qualitative analysis of government policy. The analysis shows that specialty food has increased in importance in all three countries over the last twenty years, but there are important differences in the kind of specialty food that has developed and the nature of government intervention and governance structures. Overall, Sweden appears to have the largest production of specialty food and drink and is particularly strong in organic production and consumption, farm processing and farm shops. Norway has a large number of products with protected origin and also leads in the number of farmers’ markets. Denmark lags behind the other countries on most indicators, but has witnessed the fastest growth in microbreweries over the last five years. Theoretically, the article challenges the ‘negative’ definition of specialty food as ‘non-industrial’ or ‘alternative’, and suggests a more nuanced approach. Empirically, it points towards the possible existence of a ‘Scandinavian model’ of specialty food governance with extensive interaction between central government, local government and private firms to stimulate the growth of specialty food. European Planning Studies (2016), s. 1111-1128

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