Locally produced in West – a resource center for smaller regional food producers in West Sweden
by Cecilia Faktus, Lokalproducerat i Väst
Locally Produced in West (Lokalproducerat i Väst) is a resource center for small-scale food producers in Region Västra Götaland, Sweden, who provides advice, coaches with the objective to create growth and employment in the region. The resource center was established in 2007 as a result from a joint initiative taken by the County Administrative Board and Region Västra Götaland to develop small-scale food production. From this initiative a network of 300 food producers has emerged. The only one of its kind in Sweden.
At Locally produced in West six business advisors support food producers to extend their business. For an annual service fee of 50 Euro, they become member of the network and gets access to the services of the resource center. The network members are mainly self-employed, some are slightly larger. Few have more than ten employees and none have more than 50 employees. All lines of food businesses are represented within the network – dairy, meat & charcuterie, fish & shellfish, fruits & vegetables, bakery & cereals, drinks and commodities. In all branches, there are both primary producers and processors. The main task is to support network members to reach their intended market. To achieve this objective, the business advisors cover up with different expertise, such as marketing, communication, food legislation, sales management within both B2B and B2C value chains, human resources and entrepreneurship. The resource center supports the network members to face current challenges.
In order to give good advice to network members a broad network of partners with complementary skills is needed. Locally produced in West have among others a close cooperation with the sister company Agroväst, and the Food Accelerator at Research Institutes of Sweden, in matters related to primary production, innovation and growth.
Members are organized in smaller networks where companies from different branches are represented – so called ”branch councils” for various product segments such as dairy, beverages, bakery etc. Product specific issues and challenges are often raised in the current council. The branch councils also provide valuable guidance to the business advisors in areas that needs to be in focus at the moment.
To further develop and deepen the cooperation among the network members a number of activities are arranged. Each year starts with the annual conference, “Stortinget”, to which network members and other stakeholders in the value chain are invited. In 2019 there were 100 participants at the conference that offered inspiring talks, workshops and of course good food and beverages in a nice and welcoming environment. In addition to “Stortinget” and during the year competence-raising and networking seminars and site visits are offered to network members in association with interaction partners. In recent years, REFRAME has giving us opportunity to involved cooperation with Agroväst and the communication platform “Gröna Möten”, Green Meetings.
Locally Produced in West can collect and run issues that are crucial for the further development of small-scale food production in the region. It is a successful investment that creates good conditions in a positive context for new and already existing producers, giving them the tools and strength to take the next step in making more profitable business on the regional market.
Lokalproducerat i Väst