Citizens' assembly on nutrition in Sweden
What needs to change so that you and everyone else can eat healthily, sustainably for the planet and affordably for all? That is the question Sweden's first national citizens' assembly is set to answer. On 1 and 2 April 2023, the assembly met for its first weekend of meetings. The participants will meet three more times until the summer of 2023.
With the Citizens' Assembly, the Swedish Food Administration wants to involve citizens in the work of the authority. Seventy randomly selected people will have the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and suggestions on how to make it easier to eat sustainably and healthily.
Impact on health and the environment
Participants in the Citizens' Assembly will learn about the impact of food on health and the environment, meet with experts and discuss ideas and suggestions on how to make it easier to eat sustainably for the sake of health and the environment.
There are different ways to influence that everyone can eat sustainably and healthily. This can be about
- what food is available in the shops
- which restaurants are available in the neighbourhood
- what food advertisements are shown
- what is served in schools
- how much food and drink should cost
- how to ensure that everyone has the knowledge they need about food and sustainability
- what tools are used (taxes, VAT, policies, laws) or how attitudes towards food are influenced
Healthy, sustainable and affordable
Eating healthily means eating in a way that promotes well-being and prevents disease by ensuring that the food that is eaten provides the nutrients and energy that is needed.
Eating sustainably means eating in a way that minimises the impact on the climate and the environment.
Affordability means that everyone has the same economic opportunity to eat in a way that is good for both health and the environment.
Implementing a government mandate
The ideas of the Citizens' Assembly will be one of the foundations for implementing a government mandate that the Swedish National Food Administration and the Swedish National Board of Health have had since 2021. The mandate for the authorities is to propose targets, indicators and action areas for sustainable and healthy food consumption.
The Citizens' Assembly consists of 70 people over the age of 16. The assembly is composed in such a way that it represents the Swedish population as well as possible in terms of age, gender, region and level of education.
Invitation by SMS or letter
To recruit participants, 7,000 people were invited to take part by SMS or letter. They were then able to express their interest and answer a few questions on age, gender and level of education, among other things. 70 applicants were randomly selected for the Citizens' Assembly. The assembly will meet a total of four times, twice online and twice in Stockholm.
Each meeting will last six hours. Participants will receive an honorarium totalling 999 Swedish kronor. In addition, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered.
To ensure the proper conduct of the Citizens' Assembly, a Review Council consisting of five persons has been established. This meets several times during the process to provide advice and feedback.
On 10 June 2023, the Citizens' Assembly will submit its final recommendations to the Food Authority.
Read more: Citizens' Assembly on Sustainable and Healthy Food Consumption