by: Oscar Lorentzon, Lokalproducerat i Väst
REKO-rings - a new way of reaching the consumer
The REKO concept has in a short time become a popular way for the producer and consumer to meet and at the same time creating a network and logistical system for locally produced food. Trade is managed through closed Facebook groups and the delivery of goods is for one hour at a given place where the producer and consumer can meet.
REKO was introduced in Finland by Thomas Snellman during 2013. REKO has in a short time become a considerable organization involving 270000 people within a couple of hundred REKO-rings. One estimates that the yearly turnover in REKO in Finland is approximately EUR 40 million.
The concept has even been introduced in Sweden. Many REKO-rings have started because of a large demand of locally produced products with a clear origin. The first Swedish REKO- ring started in 2016. Lokalproducerat i Väst has within the framework for the REFRAME project supported the establishment of new REKO-rings. Today there are approximately 50 REKO-rings in Sweden, the majority in the west of Sweden, and the number is growing all the time. The largest REKO-ring consists of 5000 consumers and 50 producers.
How does a REKO-ring work?
The ring is based on a closed Facebook group. The producer and consumer who want to take part apply for membership in the group he or she likes. Administrators, often a small group of consumers, approve the application from serious people and thereafter trade can begin. Normally delivery occurs every or every other week, depending on the size of the group. Delivery times are more often shorter than an hour, or producers congregate and the consumers can collect their orders from a number of producers at the same time. A producer writes a post about their product and availability on Facebook and the consumers make orders by comments directly under the post. The producers also write how they require payment.
When the REKO-ring has started it carries on of its own capacity. Often the only task of the administrators is to approve new members and decide times of delivery. Participation is completely free.
The criteria for a producer is first and foremost that they are a Government approved food producer and have their own production. The products cannot be industrially produced. The products can preferably be organic but this is not a demand.
The benefits for the producers and consumers
For the producer it means free marketing and creates a timesaving sales channel. Here they meet consumers with a specific interest for their products. The REKO-ring is furthermore a suitable arena to test new products. For the consumer it makes the small and locally produced products more accessible and creates an increased interest.
Oscar Lorentzon Lokalproducerat i Väst AB