Äkta vara ('Real Stuff' or "The Real McCoy") is a Swedish non-profit association whose members drive issues about better food quality – no/fewer food additives, artificial flavourings or other "industrial ingredients". In other words: more food in our food.

Apart from this page this web site is in Swedish. Use Google translate for the rest of the site. Click to use Google translate >>
The Swedish name "Äkta vara" may be translated in various ways, e.g. Real Deal, Real Thing, authentic or simply Real Stuff.

What's Real Stuff?
  • A non-profit consumer association with approx 3,000 members.
  • A web site: at www.äktavara.org we write news about food. We also have several guides, like a seasonal food guide, a shopping guide and a food additives guide. Association members and journalist Mats-Eric Nilsson, author of the books The secret chef and Real Stuff, have a blog here.
  • A Facebook page for news tips and discussions: www.facebook.com/aktavara.
  • A food label called Ä-märket ('Ä-label') for food without food additives.

How it all startedThe Real Stuff concept evolved during the summer of 2005. It started as an idea for food labeling. Imagine a label that states: This is the real stuff; this is what you expect. If you hold a carton of ice cream in your hand, then the contents should be cream, sugar, and eggs – and not what food chemists developed to resemble those ingredients. In 2006, the families formed the Real Stuff association and applied for trademark/brand protection.

Around the same time, Mats-Eric Nilsson >> discovered that his articles generated interest, and the time was right for writing a book. Said and done. The Secret chef was published in 2007 and has since created extensive discussion in varying media – a real eye opener for a lot of people. Secret chef and subsequent books sold a quarter of a million copies. To capture and channel this great public interest, Real Stuff members decided to start a web site as a forum for anyone interested in healthful food – for all sorts of people who want to actively influence directions being taken by the food industry.

In November 2007 Roberto entered the scene with his interest in Italian cuisine and solid knowledge of web sites and information dissemination. The result? This web site that you’re visiting right now. Read more about concepts behind the site (Google translate) >>

Originally, we set aside the idea of labeling/branding. We thought perhaps that consumers and producers are tired of brands. But interest skyrocketed among vast number of consumers who contacted us: Shouldn’t there be a guided tour, a recommendation for those who want to eat food without additives and industrial ingredients?

So we resurrected the labeling/branding idea, and this generated interest among many manufacturers. Read more about labeling >>.

During the summer of 2011, Real Stuff emerged from being a small group that worked with the manufactured food issue and became an association open to foodies and others interested in real food. Click here to become a member >>.

Real Stuff initiatives are funded by sponsors, the general public, ads, and revenue from labeling rights. Because Real Stuff is non-profit, surplus funds remain in the association and do not enter the pockets of its members.

Since October 2012, the Real Stuff association in Sweden is a member of an umbrella organization called The Swedish Consumers' Association >>.

The founders

Björn Bernhardson

Anna Karin Strand Nilsson [Björn Tesch] mellan
Anna Karin Strand Nilsson

Mats-Eric [Mattias Bardå]
Mats-Eric Nilsson


Eva Bernhardson