Coop Norrbotten aims to strengthen the county’s local food production and turn ideas into reality by investing in “competent capital”.
The member-owned food chain Coop Norrbotten has set up an independent subsidiary, CN Invest, to support local food producers in Norrbotten. The aim is to contribute to more diversified and sustainable food production.
Mats Rönnqvist, head of CN Invest, was present during the seminar as an audience member, but also participated in the final panel discussion on the future of circular food production.
– Extremely interesting and instructive. This is a bit like looking into the future and we want to be there,” he says.
Dependence on imports
Through investment, the company wants to help remove the main risk for local producers in the food chain and thus help them expand.
– There are many small-scale producers who struggle to grow, partly due to financial barriers. There we can offer them not only capital but also important skills in the food sector.
– We call it ‘skilled capital’, where we provide both financial support and the necessary knowledge.
The hope is that these efforts will increase the level of self-sufficiency in the county. A report from SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) on the country’s food preparedness paints a bleak picture of Norrbotten. Our dependence on imports means that food shortages would quickly occur without a supply of feed grains, for example.
– In Norrbotten, we produce only a fraction of what we consume. This is obviously a challenge in the current situation, but also an opportunity for those who want to grow as there is obviously a market, only that it is not local at the moment. There we can hopefully help to change and improve the situation,” says Mats Rönnqvist.
Becoming a partner
The goal is that the amount of investment over time will amount to up to SEK 100 million in total. It is hoped that the first investment will take place in 2024.
– We won’t be a loan financier, but a partner and support in that way, with the intention of leaving a stable company after seven or eight years. We look forward to supporting and growing with local businesses and contributing to a stronger and greener future.