Norway is a high-cost producer with agricultural policies focused on maintaining a high degree of self-sufficiency. To maintain agricultural production, Norway’s subsidies for most agricultural products exceed those of the EU. High tariffs, quantitative restrictions and technical barriers to trade severely limit competitive products from entering the Norwegian market. Tariff-rate quotas exist for grains, meat, and a range of horticultural products. Additionally, Norway extends rebates to food processors in compensation for the high cost of agricultural inputs and to ensure that Norwegian processed products can compete with imports.
Norwegian legislation is more restrictive than EU legislation regarding genetically modified products. This difference in the assessment of biotech products has led to Norway’s rejection of several products approved in the EU.
From January 1, 2022, new legislation on organic production became applicable in the EU, and from June 25, 2022, the regulations also apply in Norway. The organic regulations set conditions for agricultural and aquaculture products, foodstuffs, and feed to be labelled as organic. The regulations include requirements that safeguard consumer trust, plant health, animal and fish health, animal and fish welfare and the environment.
The spirits, wine, and beer (containing above 4.75% in alcohol by volume) retail market is controlled by a government monopoly, Vinmonopolet.
Best U.S. Food, Agricultural, Fishery and Forestry Prospects for Norway:
- Processed fruit and vegetables
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Tree nuts and peanuts
- Beef, non-hormone treated
- Conventional soybeans and/or derivatives (oil, meal, and protein concentrates)
- Biofuels and related feedstocks
- Health foods, organics and non-traditional, niche products
- Wine and beer
- Sugar and sweeteners
- Pet food
- Hardwood lumber
- Panel/plywood products
- Distilled spirits
Norway is only 50% self-sufficient in food and agricultural production. U.S. food and agricultural products are associated with high quality and innovation. Large Nordic retail chains provide opportunities for high volume sales to established U.S. suppliers. Norway is also a large importer of soybeans and has the only crushing facility in the Nordics. While biotech restrictions impede the bulk of U.S. soybean exports, demand for conventional soybeans and/or derivatives remains high.
Global branding and further integration of European markets is continuing to produce a more homogeneous food and drink market in Europe, but significant national differences in consumption remain. Nevertheless, certain common trends are evident throughout the EU: demand for greater convenience, more openness to non-traditional foods, and a growing interest in healthy and nutritious foods, food products with a special certification or claim (including organic, free-from, etc.), smaller portions, (regional) products that have a great story to tell (provenance), and strong well-known U.S. branded food and beverages. For a thorough analysis of what commodities and products offer the best opportunities, access https://www.fas.usda.gov/ and consult the individual member states’ exporter guides.
- Norwegian Farmers’ Union
- International Society of European Agricultural Cooperatives (INTERCOOP EUROPE)
- Norwegian wine and spirits monopoly – Vinmonopolet