There are of course several reasons for the success of organic food in the Swedish market. Swedes have, for example, in general a great interest in the environment, animal welfare and nature. However one of the most important reasons for this strong development is the KRAV association.
KRAV was founded in 1985 in order to create a credible and broadly-based regulatory framework with associated certification and labelling of organic products. Interested actors from the entire food production chain, currently 26 in number, are members of KRAV and participate in the work to:
- provide consumers with a guarantee that a product is truly organic
- make it easy to identify organic products
- communicate the added value of organic products
- increase knowledge about organic production and consumption
- mirror the outside world and create a basis for market development
The KRAV Standards
When KRAV was founded there were no uniform standards for organic production. During the association’s more than 30 years, the standards have evolved to include the entire food production chain. In order to use the KRAV label on a product, the producer must comply with the KRAV standards. Production is audited by an independent certification body at least once a year. About 7,000 agricultural and processing companies are audited and there are over 8,000 KRAV-labelled products on the market.
The KRAV Label
Almost all Swedish consumers, about 98 percent to be exact, recognize the KRAV label. This makes KRAV the most well-known Swedish eco-label. KRAV has high credibility, not only among Swedish consumers, but far beyond Sweden’s borders in areas where there is an increase in interest for organic production and organic food.
KRAV works together with similar kinds of organic labelling organisations throughout Europe and is a member of the Leading Organic Alliance (LOA), whose task is to collaborate on the development of standards and to exchange experience.
KRAV’s Added Value
The KRAV standards comply with EU regulations but are stricter in important areas, e.g. animal welfare, social responsibility and energy use. The KRAV standards also cover more areas, e.g. slaughter, fisheries and certification of restaurants.
Good for the Environment
- cultivation uses neither chemical pesticides nor artificial fertiliser, which benefits biodiversity
- genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are prohibited
- a major portion of animal feed must be grown on the farm where the animals are raised
A High Level of Animal Welfare
- animal husbandry is based on animals’ natural behavioural activities and needs
- all animals should be able to be outdoors and graze as much as possible
- pigs should be able to root and forage and have access to mud baths in the summer
- hens should be able to have sand baths in real sand and be able to be outdoors and peck and scratch during the warmer months of the year
- feed is grown organically without chemical pesticides and artificial fertiliser
- antibiotics used for preventive purposes are prohibited
- unnecessary additives are prohibited
- synthetically produced flavourings, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats are not used
- Annual audits guarantee that human rights are not violated.