Sofia Ulver

Livsmedelsdagarna, Tylösand / Stockholm 10 Sep 2020

Trends in drinking culture

At the Swedish liquor and wine supplier association SVL’s 20 year anniversary 14’th of November 2018, I spoke about contemporary, larger ideological movements–the neoblue, the neogreen, and the neobrown–that overlap with very specific consumption patterns in terms of for example drinking cultures. At the picture from the left; @Anna De Geer, CEO @SVL; @ÅsaBritt Hermansson, CEO @Nielsen Sverige, @KeremYazgan, director of communication and sustainability at @Axel Johnson AB; me; @George Soleas, President and CEO for the alcohol monopoly LCBO in Ontario, Canada; @Rolf Cassergren, chairman SVL; @EricaBertilsson, director of sustainability @ArvidNordquist, @KajTörök, director of information and sustainability @MAX burgers, and @SaraNorell, director of assortment and sustainability @Systembolaget. #qualityoverquantity #sustainability #craftconsumer #alcoholfree #lessalcohol #socialresponsibility #systembolaget #suschoice #susfood

The Garden Conference 2017, “The Neogreen Revolution”

At this conference the 24’th of October, in Linköping, Sweden, I spoke to a broad audience ranging from the Swedish Ministry of Agriculture and University deans and professors, to farmers from all over Sweden, about the neoprene revolution and how it has influenced the way consumers in an increasing way live and breath sustainability. I also talked about the “wild turn” in food consumption and how it has created a coalescence between  kitchen and nature/garden.

Livsmedelsforum 2017- Aktuell Hållbarhet “The Art of Selling Sustainable Food”

At Livsmedelsforum 2017 the 19’th of October in Malmö, I talked about the “Art of selling sustainable food” but more from a communication than a retail perspective. I first accounted for the latest quantitative research insights (from other researchers) regarding this topic and then talked about the main life theme (in my own research) of our time–namely what I call the neogreen revolution (which I wrote a report about for Jordbruksverket in 2012)–and how the food trends manifest this in such illustrative ways. Since 2005 I have been interested in the increased consumer interest in food, eating, and cooking–the “foodies”–and since 2012 I have engaged in more systematic research about (or among!) them. My focus has been on how the content of what gives status changes over time and who has the illocutionary and interpretive precedence to state what is “right”, “appropriate” and “what we should spend money on” in the foodie culture. Ranking institutes, restaurants, food critics and large media production companies such as Netflix, with their by now (among foodies)  iconic “Chef’s Table” has immense power here. And what the chefs portrayed in these various scapes are bringing forth, inspires micro trends, but also more lasting value shifts, on the global foodie market. In an upcoming Routledge anthology on Taste I and my PhD candidate Marcus Klasson delve into these Chef’s Table themes and from this emerges postmodern heroes with renaissance visions to save the world. The art of selling  sustainable food is–except from BEING sustainable–very much about understanding this symbolic world of foodies’ influencers and frame one’s communication according to its meanings.

AdDay 2017: “From Consumer to Activist,” May 11, Stockholm

At the bizzy wizzy AdDay, for Sweden’s various brand owners to meet and get inspired, I spoke about the interesting shift in roles where both consumers AND companies together become activists. Hence, the market increasingly becomes an arena for political positioning. Where national political parties (unfortunately) fail to influence the globalized world, consumers (unfortunately) have to lean more and more upon other actors to represent them. This is where the new branding paradigm comes in; brands and consumers in a symphonic co-play in political activism.

2 x Almedalen

At the Swedish Mecka of “politics-meets-PR-meets-rosé wine-mingeling” forum, namely Almedalen, I will this year be part of two panels. The first one is about sustainability at SPPs event  Tuesday the 30’Th of June with Sarah McPhee (CEO, SPP), Charlotte Petri Gornitzka (President, SIDA), Casten Almqvist (VD, TV4-Group), Eva Hamilton (Board Pro) and Scandinavia’s swaggiest moderator Henrik Schyffert (critical comedian, producer, TV personality etc). So that’s got to be simultaneously interesting, serious and fun which is a great combination. My introduction will be about the 1) consumer movements as they are right now (political consumption; from boycott to buycott), 2) their critical dimensions (access/owning, market/state, temporary/permanent, anonymous/personal, climate urgency/climate skepticism, political/apolitical, neocommunity/individualism, flexibility/inconvenience)  and 3) the challenges in consumer culture from policy makers’ point of view (increase symbolic and economic value).

The other event is car2go’s exciting panel on Wednesday the 1’st of July on  about the future for urban transport and mobility. In the larger consumer cultural transformation towards immaterialism–or in other words from stuff (products) to experience (services)–what does the future bear in terms of sustainability and consumer engagement in relation to the collective change of preference in terms of ownership? Is it just a question of access vs owning? Or is it again more a question of what one sees as important to own? Namely;  the story of accessing and sharing as symbol for being the New Citizen ConsumerThe possibility for the consumer to mediate a compelling story about this, and thereby own the symbol of being a planet-conscious yet urban “accesser” rather than resource-wasting product owner, is one of the most critical dimensions in future consumer culture.


Formuesdagen 2014, Oslo: Philanthropy and Future Consumption.

Humbled by great company (e.g. Open Society Foundations) I talked in Oslo to Formuesforvaltnings clients, about possible future philanthropic and political consumption. In the movie below you can find my speech at 2.01 and twenty minutes forward.

“The Changing Consumer Landscape”, Burenstamdagen, Stockholm

Speaking about what’s going on in the consumer cultural landscape, in the company of Henrik Mittelman and Alexander Bard among others. What’s bubbling and what’s not? What is the future consumer culture like in relation to investments and capital? The various talks during this day will result in a Burenstam edited anthology on trends in 2015.

“The Neogreen Movement”, SPP Sustainability Event, Stockholm

Speaking about the need to take seriously small, seemingly trivial, movements, as they can grow rapidly (for good and for bad). SPP (pension fund asset managers) take sustainability issues extremely seriously and work hard and diligently to create resonance throughout the industry and among their customers. Storebrand CEO Odd Arild Grefstad, SPP CEO Sarah McPhee, and SPP Director of Investment Staffan Hansén all held very inspiring and hope-infusing speeches about the need for sustainable investment. I’M A FAN!

“Rurbanization and The Neogreen Consumer”, 250 Möjligheter, Jönköping

Thisl conference problematizes urbanization as fact and discourse; that 250 of the Swedish municipalities are losing their young (18-25 years) inhabitants to the cities. Is this urbanization an inevitable and unstoppable fate inherent in a globalized market economy? Can we see other tendencies? This day I will talk about the “neogreen consumer” as an example of such tendencies. Even if s/he doesn’t stop the powerful forces of urbanization the neogreen consumer successively nuances and directs new positive attention towards rural and “rurban” life.

“Gröna Idéer”, Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg

What characterizes today’s and the future’s consumer? What is s/he occupied with, locally and globally, and how does this influence the large environmental, social and ethical challenges we are up against?