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We want Norwegian strawberries


Photo: Ragnar Våga Pedersen

Flavour,quality, andthe our perception that Norwegian strawberries are safer than imported ones, means that we are willing to pay up to double the price for Norwegian berries.

For many of us, a Norwegian strawberry is the flavor of summer—and we happily pay more for locally-grown berries than for imported varieties. A study carried out by researchers at NIBIO shows a clear link between the willingness to pay more and a perception that Norwegian strawberries contain fewer traces of pesticides than imported berries.

For 25 years, strawberry farmer Bjørn Dahl has been selling his strawberries from his own stall on Nesoddhalvøya in Nordre Frogn. He says he has developed a customer base that keeps coming back—and who are willing to pay a higher price for the strawberries compared to supermarket-prices This isdue to the flavour and quality of the berries. To minimize the use of pesticides on the farm, Dahl believes that the most important measures areto have short rotations, i.e. two to three harvests and to plant in narrow rows kept free of weedswith plenty of air circulation.

“Many consumers are skeptical about the use of pesticides. Our study confirms that people are willing to pay more for products treated with fewer pesticides,” says Anna Birgitte Milford, researcher at NIBIO.

This means that reduced use of pesticides can be a source of extra profit for Norwegian farmers. The willingness to pay more for Norwegian berries is also linked to the perception that there are foreign strawberries contain more pesticides, she says.

“We did not observe the same effect in relation to, for instance, perceptions that there are better working conditions or less local pollution involved in strawberry production in Norway compared to other countries.

However, the results of the study do not necessarily transfer to other Norwegian agricultural products.

“There is a conception that strawberries are treated more aggressively than many other products, and because we can’t peel them, some people the risk of consuming pesticides is higher when they eat strawberries.”