How ICA is shifting the Swedish food system
ICA's is one of Sweden's biggest grocery stores. Hear how they are working with startups and growing the selection of plant-based, locally sourced foods throughout their stores.
Most of us buy our food from a grocery store. That makes them the most important interface for how we decide what food to buy and consequently, what food gets produced.
ICA is one of the biggest grocery retailers in Sweden. Every week, around 12 million people pass through their stores. Recognizing the central role they play in the everyday life of Swedes, ICA is intent on supporting the shift to a sustainable food system that will support biodiversity, plant-based products, and locally produced foods. They launched ICA Växa, a new unit of the organization, to help make this happen.
Today, I speak with Jacqueline Engdahl, the Head of ICA Växa, to hear what exactly their up to.
Like the stories we tell? This is a listener supported podcast. Show our support by becoming a subscriber today!
🛒 How other Nordic grocery retailers are thinking about the future of food
🌱 The 2020 Future Report that launched ICA Växa
🧑🌾 Delås Farm on what it means to be a regenerative farmer
🚀 Coop Crowdfunding on enabling their customers to invest in food startups
🤳 How a vegan blog helps new products get on Sweden’s supermarket shelves
👩🍳 The largest online recipe base in Sweden is ICA’s
🔓 How blockchain is being used in the food system
✔️ Set a food climate goal with this tool from ICA
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech 2:43
You work for ICA, which is one of the biggest supermarkets in Sweden. Can you tell us when and how ICA got started?
Jacqueline Engdahl, ICA Växa 2:58
Yeah, sure. To go back to the origins, we have to go back 100 years when the Swedish society looked completely different. Hakon Swenson had the idea of joining different individual store owners and bringing efficiency across the grocery stores. So, we started about 100 years ago as a central purchasing order, which has since then both helped shape the Swedish society and build it with more services. Everything from distribution and communication to being a conglomerate with a bank, real estate, pharmacy…. We have over 1,200 stores in our network.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech 3:51
And as you just mentioned, back then Sweden looked completely different. So, what was the structure? Why did it make sense to put together a centralized system?