Shetland Grocery Store Shelves…

…are something that one meets almost immediately on arrival to the islands. Everyone needs food and most everyone use grocery stores. Grocery store experiences are probably very different between people, so it wasn’t just chance that made us be more aware of what was being offered on the shelves of the Co-op store in Lerwick. A mix between anxiety and anticipation. What things would we find similar? Were there new things offered? Better products? Less better products than what we were used to?

Experiences from the U.S. and Sweden have taught me to keep my eyes and mind open, read labels on products and do price comparisons. It’s something my father pointed out to his boys each time we’d accompany him to get groceries. I’ve kept these teachings through the years but added a bit of my own values and politics to grocery buying.

Photo: The Lerwick Co-op grocery store

So, it was to a degree of attention I gave some products on the shelves of the Co-op store when we first needed to fill our food supplies. The real attention grabber was the “Fair Trade” products. Another exciting eye-catcher was the free range eggs from Scotland farmers and finding most of the milk was locally produced and manufactured in Shetland. Shetland yoghurt was there, too. Really rich and creamy.

So, let the pictures add to the story. There has been some really nice surprises in food and food stores here and I’ll give this topic more attention later. It’s fun to shop for food in different countries with different values and ideas.

But, I ask, Why can’t there be more “Fair Trade” products on common Swedish grocery shelves?

PS– At this writing, the some 7000 people living in Lerwick have only one (1) grocery store available. This is the Co-op in Lerwick. Next week, the new Tesco store will open and many questions are in the air concerning the future of small village stores in rural areas, prices at Tesco and its reputation of price arrangements as well as the future of the Co-op store and its eventual expansion or decline. Should be interesting in the months to come.

PSS– We find small surprises of Scandinavian foods on the shelves here in Shetland. For example, Ryvita hard bread (knäckebröd) and Mustard Herring (Senaps Sill)

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