We bake with Swedish ingredients as much as possible, because they grow close to our bakeries and because Swedish farming is among the most sustainable in Europe.
Our most important ingredient is flour and it comes from our own mills. We have a close, long-term relationship with farmers who grow cereals in fields nearby.
The flour is ground in our own mills near our bakeries in Malmö and Gothenburg. Having our own mills ensure we have the right craftsmanship to supply us with the best flour with the right quality. The mills also give us the opportunity to a form a close relationship with people who grow grains on the fields nearby.
Lilla Harrie Valskvarn, Sweden's oldest mill, has been milling flour since 1509 and today about a quarter of Sweden's bakery flour comes from here.
Swedish farming has a good environmental standard compared globally. Cereals grown by Swedish farmers are among the cleanest in the EU and are subjected to the least plant protection products in Europe.
But we go further than general legislation. For example, we do not allow sludge fertilization and we limit the use of straw-shortening agents.
No sludge fertilization
Since 2010 we have banned sludge fertilization, as it can spread substances that are harmful to the environment and health, such as cadmium, heavy metals and chemicals. We don’t believe that the method is sufficiently proven and secured. We demand that grain from new fields has not been sludge fertilized in the last three years.
We have a close dialogue with our farmers about this issue and the vast majority share our opinion and think that this ban is good. Our suppliers must be able to show traceability for the grain they deliver, right down to the field.
Straw-shortening growth regulators
Wheat is used for most of the flour in our bread and the wheat we use must not have been treated with straw shortening agents, even if they are permitted in Sweden today. Straw shortening agents prevent grain from becoming too long and lying down or going off.
Rye has long and weaker straws which increases the risk of the farmer’s harvest being ruined. Our goal is to use Swedish rye which has not been treated with straw shortening agents.
We already use some non-straw-shortened rye, but the supply is not large enough and a challenge for anyone using Swedish cereals.
For several years we have run projects to develop a new type of rye with naturally shorter straws that can withstand the Swedish climate. We have our own mill, Lilla Harrie Valskvarn where we run our own initiatives in cooperation with contracted farmers.
Pågen has a long history of baking in Sweden and we feel a great responsibility for helping develop long-term sustainable agriculture here. As a large bakery, we can influence this by prioritizing Swedish ingredients and by actively operating joint development projects with farmers.
We test and develop more sustainable Swedish cereals. We test wheat that gives greater harvests and less environmental impact, and test rye to give better quality and less need for plant protection products.
We also trial new cereals, which there is limited access to in Sweden such as durum and dinkel/spelts. This means we have been able to launch a bread baked on Swedish durum.
Pågen has close and long-term cooperation with approximately 200 contracted farmers who have their fields near our mills. This means we know exactly where the grain comes from.
We believe it is important for Sweden to have a sustainable conventional agriculture that contributes to a vivid countryside and more jobs.
Pågen has a few selected suppliers who live up to our terms and conditions. The ingredients we use should have been produced in a sustainable way. We follow up on this through a close dialogue and through recurring controls. When we develop new products we make a careful evaluation of new ingredients and their origin.
We use the label “From Sweden” on many of our products to show that they are Swedish and to support the development of Swedish agriculture. At least 75% of the raw materials in products with several ingredients have to be grown in and the product has to be manufactured and packaged in Sweden to be allowed to use the labelling.
The vast majority of our bread fulfils the requirements for labelling. In 2017 our “From Sweden” labelled bread exceeded the requirements by containing around 90% of Swedish ingredients. Despite the extreme drought in 2018 we managed to keep the labelling on nearly all bread, even though the proportion of Swedish raw materials dropped slightly.
We use Swedish cereal products and flour from our own mill and Swedish lingonberries for our LingonGrova bread and cold pressed rapeseed oil from Österlen in Skåne. We also use our own yeast and sourdough produced adjacent to the bakery.