Kiwi Grocery | Grocery's most powerful leaders gather here

Kiwi Grocery |  Grocery's most powerful leaders gather here

Father Knut Hartvig Johansson and son Johan made an appearance when the elite of the Norwegian grocery industry gathered at a food conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

The Johansson family owns the majority of Norway's largest grocery company, Norgesgruppen, with supermarket chains such as Kiwi, Meny, Joker and Spar.

In the front row sat the owner of the smallest retail business, Bunnpris owner Christian Lake. Bunnpris has 240 stores and a turnover of seven billion annually. He sat down with Norgesgruppen Managing Director Runar Holvik.

– This is, in a way, the “Oscar” of the grocery industry, grocery expert Odd Giesholt tells Netafsen. He was also present at the food conference.

A few rows of seats away sat Philip Engedal, CEO of Coop. Kavli and Q Dairy Manager, Christine Asheim, was also in the room. In addition, the Chairman of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Competition Authority were present.

– not today

Norgesgruppen's owner, Johan Johansson, gave practically no interviews. He runs the family empire today, having taken over the position of chairman of Norgesgruppen from his father.

One of the few times Johan Johansson has spoken publicly was in 2016 when Nettavisen asked him if he had ever shopped a Rema 1000 competitor.

– I made a mistake once in my life, and then I stopped by Rima's shop not far from where I lived and bought ice cream. He said at the time that the weather was very hot that day.

At the conference on Wednesday, Netavisen tried to get a comment from Johan Johansson, who is also considered the country's fourth-richest man in that position after Rima Reitan.

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– Have you bought ice cream from Rima 1000 recently?

– Huh. I do not wish to participate in any interviews. “Today, I just want to be present at the conference,” Johansson told Netafsen.

– You don't show up for interviews often?

– Yes, I can do that, but not today, says Johansson.

– Feel each other's teeth

The Food Conference is organized at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and is part of this larger research programme. The aim of the Food program is to gain new research and knowledge about the grocery market, but it is Norgesgruppen that pays for the entire programme.

This helps explain the presence of a large number of Norwegian group leaders at the conference: Kiwi manager Jan Paul Bjarkøy and list manager Vegard Kjuus were both among the guests.

– There is intense competition in the grocery industry, and here they have a rare opportunity to meet and feel each other's teeth, says Odd Gesholt.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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