Your Royal Highness,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for inviting me to this seminar.
Food is a daily concern to most people, and a matter that has climbed the agenda of interest in many countries. There are many reasons for this.
I would like to highlight a few trends — trends that have been strong in Sweden over the last couple of years — so strong that it might be right to call it something of a revolution in terms of food quality and culinary ambitions.
What I am thinking about, as the first such trend, is a vibrant generation of new young chefs — chefs who combine the best of Swedish traditions with influences form other countries.
Chefs who have elevated Swedish cuisine to a very high standard throughout the entire country and the world, winning numerous prizes including the Bocuse d'or, the World Championship for chefs.
We have put the chefs on the table, so to speak. Our best chefs now enjoy celebrity status — and this inspires talented young men and women to become chefs and restaurant professionals. And this has also inspired people in general to be creative in their own kitchens.
The next very important element of this food revolution is to "invite farmers to the table." We have become better at utilizing the potential of family farms in using locally produced ingredients in our food, and in spreading our recipes far and wide.
Our retail chains have formed alliances with farmers and tries to create a sort of national mobilization in this regard.
This approach supports sustainability throughout the food chain, where the farmers play a crucial role.
It ass to our common responsibility to consume in a sustainable way, and it is valid both from the perspective of the consumer and the producer.
The third trend we have seen in Swedish men, if I may generalize.
Swedish men do not merely wait at the table for their meals to be served any longer, as they certainly did in the old days, or specialize solely in wielding a barbeque fork — they have become team players in the kitchen.
I believe that Swedish society has achieved a better balance concerning food, sustainability, the role of the farmer and the health aspects of food — by giving food, cooking and eating well far greater attention.
The media has played a vital role — both in highlighting good examples and scrutinizing food suppliers.
But — it feels incomplete to talk about these positive trends without mentioning the huge paradox in today's world.
One billion people are hungry, and one billion people do not even have clean water.
And at the same time, people suffer from heart diseases and type two diabetes caused by overconsumption of food. 1.5 billion are overweight or obese.
There is a need for balance.
There is a need for balance on a global level.
There is a need for balance on a national level.
And there is much that we can do in our daily lives.
Thank you for inviting me to take part in this seminar.
Crown Princess Victoria has asked me to extend her warmest wishes to you.