ICA group is the largest retailer in the Nordic region and the leading grocery chain in Sweden, with more than 1,300 stores.
Founded in Cork by veggie entrepreneur Deirdre Collins, Dee’s Wholefoods also launched in the Netherlands in 2015 with Jumbo, the country’s second largest retailer.
This year, the company also expanded its UK presence, and now services 300 Holland and Barrett stores.
In the UK market for several years, it also sells to online grocer Ocado and at supermarket group Booths.
“We are excited to bring Dee’s products to Sweden — one of the most developed and dynamic food retail markets in the world and a country that has been at the forefront of adopting an increasingly meat-free lifestyle,” said Ms Collins.
“The Swedish vegetarian food market is thriving with a recent survey showing that more than one-in-three Swedes (36%) eat vegetarian food at least once a week.”
Dee’s range includes Vegan Burgers containing ‘superfood’ hemp and sunflower seeds, Vegan Sausages, Veg Pots and Dee’s Quinoa Pots.
The company began exporting soon after its launch at a farmers’ market in West Cork in 2008.
The company’s Swedish launch was aided by Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland. Ms Collins says that the UK’s surprise Brexit vote has served as a reminder to Irish businesses of the importance of exporting into new markets.
“Once we were familiar with the market, we carried out formal research and developed a business plan,” she said.
“We met with ICA and they loved our concept and our food and we loved their very local approach to retailing. ICA is a symbol group, a bit like SuperValu here in Ireland, with each store operated by an independent owner, so they are very much part of their local communities.
“We have a huge market on our doorstep and I feel it is really important for Irish companies to look beyond our borders towards new markets, new cultures and new languages.”
In Ireland, the Dee’s Wholefoods range is available in Tesco, SuperValu, Dunnes Stores and in a wide selection of health stores.