Climate Carrots

Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes are likely to be the first foods to get a special climate-friendly label in Sweden, according to Swedish organic certifier KRAV and the quality control organization Svenskt Sigill.

Earlier this year, huge UK food retailer Tesco announced that it would introduce a climate labeling system. Tesco's plan is to climate rate on a sliding scale all of the more than 70,000 products founds on its shelves.

KRAV and Svenskt Sigill instead want climate-labeling to be a value-added certification for organic or sustainably produced food. The two organizations just got the blessings of Sweden's environment, agriculture and consumer affairs' ministers. And it seems of the Swedish public, too - a survey this summer showed 73 percent of consumers said they would always or often buy climate-labeled foods. Around 40 percent said they would be willing to pay 10 percent more for the label.Climate label project manager Johan Cejie has said that those numbers are probably too good to be true.

Instead Cejie estimated that probably a quarter of Swedes would actually pony up to buy the newly-labeled climate-friendly goods when they actually hit the shelves. Likely it is the consumers who already buy organic or biodynamic food, he added.

This fall KRAV and Svenskt Sigill will try to figure out how to set up the certification for a roll-out in 2008. Spokesperson Helena Enquist said that it hasn't been decided whether to launch a totally new graphic identity for the climate label or to enhance the two organizations' existing labels.

Consumers responding to the summer survey said that the distance foods travel and how they travel were the most important criteria, and they seemed less concerned with possibly unmeasured methane emissions at Swedish farms.

Sweden's largest food retailers haven't been too enthusiastic about climate labeling, saying it is 'too complicated' - but other indicators show shoppers seeking out more organically-labeled food. One of the most mainstream retailers, ICA, registered a 30 percent increase in organic sales in the first half of 2007. ::KRAV (Swedish/English site)

Tags: Sweden