Scan Magazine, Issue 85, February 2016

Page 32

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | A Taste of Sweden

Marie Söderqvist, CEO of the Swedish Food Federation. Press photo

As I am writing this, I am sitting on a sunny beach in India. I have spent the past week attending a leadership course combining ayurvedic food with management. Ayurveda really means knowledge of life and is an ancient idea about food as medicine. By eating right, you keep diseases at bay. In addition, one should get a moderate amount of exercise, the physical activity in the Indian version being yoga. To put it simply, to achieve wellbeing one should eat lots of freshly cooked vegetables, fruit and berries, exercise moderately and make time for reflection. Indians have been saying this for 5,000 years now. The latest research on food and health says almost exactly the same thing. Eat colourful fruit, vegetables and berries, eat according to the seasons and get exercise, and you will improve your chances of staying healthy and living longer. This deep-rooted or ultramodern (depending on what way you look at it) food doctrine translates to Sweden quite easily. Enjoy all our Nordic, colourful vegetables, such as beets, asparagus, spinach, 32 | Issue 85 | February 2016

blueberries, lingonberries, strawberries and red and black currants, and the Scandinavian oat, considered to be the best in the world. If you do not wish to stick to a vegetarian ethos, Swedish meat is the most antibiotic-free meat in the whole world, and our chicken is free from salmonella. We could create an entire health creed based on the products produced in Sweden – and attempts have been made. When a test group had to live off Nordic food alone for one month, the participants became both healthier and lighter. All easily measurable values, such as weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, changed for the better after four weeks following a selected Nordic diet. We in the Nordic countries are simply very good at producing food. But we are not very good at spreading the word about it and conquering the world with it. While other countries establish their cuisines and products everywhere, we are still reasonably cautious in Swe-

Photo: Svenska LantChips

den. A bit too ’lagom’ (lagom is a nearuntranslatable Swedish word meaning just perfect, balanced or moderate, not too little and not too much). The Law of Jante, which deems individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate, still has a firm hold on us, and we are afraid to boast to the world that we really are the best. Pretty much the best in the world when it comes to producing food. It is often said that less talking and more doing is a good aim or, as American films would have it, that one should walk the walk, not just talk the talk. But in Sweden, it is actually the complete opposite when it comes to food. We should start to talk more about our fantastic products, which are both tasty and healthy. Marie Söderqvist CEO, the Swedish Food Federation For more information, please visit: www.livsmedelsforetagen.se