Matmissionen (The Food Mission, in Swedish) is the first social supermarket in any of the Nordic countries, and it opened in a southern suburb of Stockholm, Rågsved, in December 2015. Due to a fire the store had to shut its doors three months later. Since that day, owner Stadsmissionen, a nonprofit organization, have together with Axfood been intensely looking for a new premise that would allow a reopening of the social store — and once again be able to help all the members who live in economic deprivation. This time the luck fell on a northern suburb of Stockholm, Veddesta. Doors opened on September 26.
Matmissionen in Rågsved was a success right from the start with 1,200 members already after three months—so it was especially important to start up a replacement store as fast as possible after the shop in Rågsved burned down. The store in Veddesta, just like the one in Rågsved, will contribute to positive social benefits in several ways: create economic space for people in financial vulnerability, enable in-store job training and help reduce unnecessary food waste.
“Thanks to Willys, we now have a new premise. Everyone is welcome to shop at Matmissionen, although we primarily target our members who live in a precarious economic situation,” says Johan Rindevall, Executive of Matmissionen at Stadsmissionen.
Interior fitting and completion of the shop has been going on all summer. The shop is not stocked like a regular supermarket, but will sell donated surplus food from other stores. Axfood is co-founder of Matmissionen and Axfoundation has been involved in supporting the project since its inception.
“This idea was too good to burn down. I am happy that we have found a new site to on which to re-build Matmissionen. This project is an important part of our work for reduced food waste. If, through Stadsmissionen, we can also link it to an important social effort, there’s naturally cause for double cdelebration,” says Åsa Domeij, sustainability manager at Axfood.
Matmissionen is open to all; however members can trade goods for one third of the usual retail price, or less. To obtain membership you have to qualify through one one the following requirements: welfare benefits, benefits for new arrivals to the country, activity support, sickness benefit, minimum pension, daily allowance from the Migration Board, unemployment insurance, minimum wage.
Stadsmissionen is the store owner and will run it as a social enterprise. The shop gives people the opportunity to approach the labor market through personal support and professional coaching. In the long term, there may be up to 20 trainees on staff. Those who worked at Matmissionen in Rågsved are offered to start work at the new store.