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Bengtsson, Fredrik and Frödå, Emma (2008) Svensk livsmedelsexport. Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

The food industry is an important part of the Swedish economy, It is the fourth largest industry in Sweden in terms of number of employees and production value. Due to the increasing globalization, the Swedish food industry faces new conditions and challenges. Through the Swedish membership in the European Union in 1995 a whole new era of competition began for the Swedish agriculture and food industry. Markets that previously were closed now opened. In retrospect, it should be noted that the Swedish food industry managed well. Since the European accession, exports quadrupled and exports are becoming more and more important. The Swedish food industry is characterized by many small businesses and relatively few large firms. Most of the smaller companies are one-man enterprises. The price level of food in Sweden is one of the highest in the European Union although Swedish food exports are highly competitive in terms of refined products. Usual export products are: chocolate and sugar confectionery, baked goods, frozen vegetables, sauces, soups and broths, juices and jams. This thesis aims to identify the risks, problems and obstacles encountered in food export markets. The study also aims at describing the importance of exports for the Swedish food companies and to find the characteristics of an exporting Swedish food company. Data were collected through case studies and a survey. The case studies have been completed through qualitative interviews with people in charge of exports at 15 companies. The quantitative survey was sent to exporting Swedish companies in the food industry. The thesis has been done in collaboration with the Swedish Trade Council. Key characteristic of an exporting Swedish food company is that they have exported in an average of 24.5 years, a turnover of 628 million, has 209 employees and exports account for about 30% of the turnover. The risk that companies are experiencing is primarily commercial risk and product risk, although foreign currency risks are of relative importance. About two-thirds of the exporting firms are exposed to currency risk and of those only one-fourth are using currency hedging. Something worth mentioning is that as much as 40% of the companies use the same pricing strategy on exports as in the domestic market. The problems that companies experience are related mainly to laws and regulations and an increasing degree of international competition as other barriers to trade are limited. The study shows that Swedish exports to a large extent consist of refined products. Food export from Sweden goes mainly to neighbor countries like Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany. The reason why companies started to export was mainly due to international demand and good foreign contacts. Skills of the staff and loyalty among customers are competitive advantages that the companies possess according to the respondents. Factors that companies rank as important for successful exports are mainly competent staff and good sales and distribution channels. The staff's knowledge is therefore extremely important. The study shows that rather few companies have used any services from the Swedish Trade Council, those who participated has primarily been involved in international trade fairs. The respondents also indicate that it is very important to have good importers and one way to find them is to participate in various international food market fairs. The respondents are optimistic about the future. A total of 76 % of the companies plans to increase their exports. A number of respondents are planning to expand their export organisation and to increase production capacity in order to increase their exports.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: Swedish food industry, export, risk, barriers, competitive advantage and export subsidies
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences > Dept. of Economics
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Depositing User: Emma Frödå
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 10:06
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2726

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