Invitation to a conference on rural research

The 25th Conference on Rural Research will be held in Leppävirta, Eastern Finland, at Hotel Vesileppis on 31 August 2017. This year’s theme will be ‘countryside on our doorstep’.

The meeting programme comprises invited presentations, discussions, work group activities and relaxation. The work groups will offer the participants the opportunity to explore matters related to rural companies, digitalisation, the role of farmers in the development of the countryside, immigrants in rural areas, and the LEADER programme.

The conference is suitable for everyone with an interest in the countryside, from researchers and developers to local authority staff. The conference is free of charge, and it serves as an excellent introduction to the Rural Parliament. The conference will be held in Finnish.

For further information, visit: www.mua.fi (in Finnish)

You are invited to explore and discuss topical matters related to the countryside by The Finnish Society for Rural Research and Development, The National Local Food Co-ordination Project and Northern Savo Village Association.

CFP: The deadline for abstracts and poster requests is 12 June 2017 (further information is available at www.mua.fi)

Work groups:

  1. Added value from LEADER – what, how, for whom, and how much?
  2. Collaboration models in a circular economy – effects and potential
  3. Digitalisation and actorness
  4. People from far and near – immigrants in the countryside
  5. Is a farmer an actor or a bystander in rural areas?
  6. Social capital and sustainability as success factors for small rural companies
  7. The home region viewed close up and from a distance
  8. Location-based well-being in rural areas

 

Knowing the producer is important to consumers buying local food

The popularity of local food is extending from a fad into something much more permanent. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and who produces it. They place a high value on personal contact with local producers and are willing to pay a fair price for locally grown food items.

In this phenomenon, consumers who favour local food emphasise interaction, trust, and community spirit. These views emerged in a study conducted as part of the project LähiSos (short for ‘Lyhyet läheiset ketjut – lähiruoka ja sosiaalinen pääoma’, meaning ‘short local chains – local food and social capital’), which examined whether the popularity of local food stems from the properties of the product itself or is rooted in other factors instead. The study was carried out through online discussions arranged with the companies and their customers.

– For local-food companies and networks, the factors brought up by the customers who buy local food constitute the kind of social capital that is difficult for larger companies to amass. To boost their business, local-food companies should nurture these aspects of their operations, says Leena Erälinna, manager of the LähiSos project.

Over the past few years, the marketing channels for local food have moved online, and communications now take place mainly via social media. More than a hundred REKO networks operate in Finland, with more eggs now sold through the aid of Facebook than any single provider can produce.

– Advances in digitalisation offer small companies an excellent opportunity to interact with their customers more easily. And the opposite is true also: customers can find producers – and also each other, says Erälinna.

Interaction with the producer increases consumer trust

Local food brings together consumers with similar priorities in a natural way. Social-media networks give rise to local-food communities, in which people share tips, information, and recipes. Through these networks, consumers can find more information on the products than shops can offer.

– For small companies, a social-media presence is a must because of the visibility it affords, and consumers assign great value to personal contact with the producer. Such direct interaction increases consumer trust, explains Erälinna.

Contact with the producer also gives consumers a more in-depth picture of the food’s origins and its production methods. According to Erälinna, there is no doubting that consumers appreciate trust and transparency in production and are also willing to pay more for foods produced in line with these principles.

At the same time, various forms of sharing-based economy, such as community-supported agriculture, are opening new avenues for producers, who can now use different models to offer their services and expertise to busy consumers who want to invest in ecological and healthy choices. Erälinna says that a sharing economy also contributes to greater appreciation for food and its production.

www.lähiruokakoukuttaa.fi

A new online publication offers handy tips to local-food entrepreneurs

The goal for the study was to examine the significance of social capital and sustainability, the phenomenon itself, and the ways it can be utilised in the interaction between local-food companies and their customers. The findings have now been compiled in an online publication that offers tips and information to producers, available in Finnish via www.lähiruokakoukuttaa.fi.

– The online brochure is intended mainly for local-food producers and those who are just starting out, along with local-food networks. The publication introduces the central elements of social capital that play a major role in the success of local-food companies. It also provides information on the new business and funding opportunities offered by the sharing economy, explains Erälinna.

Co-ordinated by the University of Turku, the national LähiSos project is being carried out in collaboration with Häme University of Applied Sciences and Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences in Kanta- and Päijät-Häme, Central Finland, Northern Savonia, Southwest Finland, and the capital region. The two-year project is funded by the Food Chain project of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK).

More information
Leena Erälinna, +358 40 684 7450, leena.eralinna@utu.fi

Finland´s national food is rye bread

Close contenders for the top spot included Karelian hot pot, Karelian pasties, and fried fish with mashed potatoes.

In autumn 2016, close to 50 000 Finns gave their vote in a public call to find the national food of Finland, celebrating the 100th anniversary or independence this year. In the first voting round in summer 2016, around 10 000 individuals submitted a total of more than 1000 suggestions for the national food. A jury composed of food experts picked 12 Finnish food gems from these suggestions as the finalists: pizza, pea soup, rye bread, the Easter delicacy mämmi, fish soup, the fermented milk product viili, Karelian pasties, bilberry pie, fried vendace / Baltic herring / perch with potatoes, Karelian hot pot, cured fish, and liver casserole.

The winner was picked from the finalists in a new voting round at the end of 2016. Around 40 000 people gave their opinion, with a bit over a hundred of the votes arriving on a traditional postcard. The vote for the national food of Finland was organised by the ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture, together with the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners MTK, and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Public and jury share their opinion

Rye bread was a clear winner by almost 10 000 votes. It was also the definite favourite of voters under 30. Other young people’s favourites included Karelian pasties, while those over 60 picked Karelian hot pot and fried vendace or Baltic herring with mashed potatoes as their ultimate Finnish dish. Bilberry pie was the favourite dessert of voters of all ages.

The national food was selected through a public vote. The jury’s task was to ensure that the finalists represent a wide range of Finnish food culture through different stories, ingredients, and preparation methods. The jury’s pick was fish soup with its seasonal adaptability, always suitable to serve with rye bread.

The Finland 100 centenary year celebrates rye bread – what is your take on rye? 

The national food jury suggests that Finnish Culture Day (28th February), also known as Kalevala Day, would also be named as a day of food culture. Companies and organisations working with rye products have decided to celebrate rye bread especially as an everyday dish.

The jury encourages countryside people to come forward also with their local specialities – in the traditional form, or with a modern twist.

The vote confirmed the iconic position of rye bread in Finland. All Finns share their own special relationship and story around it. The work towards securing local raw material sourcing for Finnish rye products, a strong know-how of health benefits, and developing new era snack products predict a great future for rye in Finland. In addition to bread, rye is used in many Finnish speciality products: the Easter dessert mämmi, the traditional fish-filled bread loaf kalakukko, breaded fresh water fish, or rye whiskey, for instance.

The jury has composed stories about rye bread – go read your favourites (in Finnish) or write your own and share it with the hashtag #minunruisleipäni (’My rye bread’).

The ELO Foundation and their partners will portray each national food treasure one at a time in a set of 12 celebratory months. More on the National Food website at www.kansallisruoka.fi (see also the voting results).

Hashtag in Finnish: #kansallisruoka / Hashtag in Swedish: #nationalrätt

Video of winner

More information

ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture
Seija Kurunmäki, Executive Director
+358 400 460894, seija.kurunmaki@elo-saatio.fi
and
Susanna Haavisto, Press Officer
+358 405 060185, susanna.haavisto@elo-saatio.fi

Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners MTK
Anni-Mari Syväniemi, Ombudsman for Finnish Food Culture
+358 505 118909, Anni-Mari.Syvaniemi@mtk.fi

National Dish Jury
The jury included: Secretary General Arja Lyytikäinen (National Nutrition Council), Chair Maija Silvennoinen (Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation), Founder Samuli Karjula (Harvest Season Calendar), Restaurateur Henri Alén (Finnjävel), Executive Director Marianne Heikkilä (Martha Organisation), Professor of Food Culture Johanna Mäkelä, Historian and Author Lasse Lehtinen, Head Archivist Yrsa Linqvist (Society of Swedish Literature), Chair Kim Palhus (Finnish Gastronomy Society), Editor-in-chief Kati Kelola (Mondo travel magazine), Food Culture Ombudsman Anni-Mari Syväniemi (MTK), and Executive Director Seija Kurunmäki (ELO Foundation).

Voting 1.10.-6.12.2016, total votes 38500

The local food co-ordination project

The local food co-ordination project is a national initiative to increase and intensify collaboration amongst operators in the local food sector and to improve this sector´s competitiveness via networking.

Objectives and realisation of the project

The project draws together national, local, and international measures pertaining to locally produced food and enhances communication, collaboration, and distribution of related tasks among operators and projects in the field. At the same time, regional development work will be supported and complemented by building of contacts and planning of joint measures. Communication-related actions form a central part of the project, because communication is one of the key factors influencing all aspects of the project.

The local food co-ordination project is being realised in close collaboration with regional operators and national partners, including producers in fields related to the local food sector, such as organic food, natural products, and – particularly food-related – tourism.

The target group

The project’s main target group consists of local, regional, and national projects and operators in the local food sector. The resulting networks will benefit local food producers and other companies in the field, along with their customers, from consumers to professionals.

The timetable

The project is being carried out between 17 June 2015 and 31 January 2018.

Funding

Funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Häme as a national co-ordination project, the local food co-ordination project was set up as a tool for implementing the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland (2014–2020).

IndieFood brings together Finnish local food services in one location

The IndieFood local food guide introduces some 800 local food services from all over Finland.

Ertimo_IndieFood_kansikuvaProduced by publishing company Myllylahti, ‘IndieFood – Lähiruokaopas Suomeen’ (IndieFood – Local Food Guide to Finland) introduces about 800 local food-related services from all over Finland and provides valuable information for both travellers and home chefs looking for high-quality ingredients.

The information is organised on the basis of region and municipality, making it easy to find the best spots for a break and a bite to eat, along with the nearest farm shops and the most interesting stores. The book also introduces the reader to food networks, co-operatives, and REKO groups.

Laura Ertimo is a non-fiction writer with an interest in food and where it comes from. Published in 2011, her local food guide was among that year’s best-selling non-fiction books. The local food co-ordination project and its experts, from all corners of Finland, participated in the selection of producers and service-providers included in the IndieFood guide.

“IndieFood touches upon an everyday topic that covers big questions, such as the origins of food and local residents’ livelihoods. I like to gather information on Finnish small producers because I want to know where my food comes from and to show readers that you don’t need to travel far to find wonderful things,” Ertimo explains.

You can read more about the book (in Finnish)

Introducing twelve protected Finnish products

Kitkan viisas, Sahti, Kalakukko, Lapin Puikula, Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha, Puruveden muikku, Lapin Poron liha, Karjalanpiirakka, Lapin Poron kuivaliha and Kainuun rönttönen

Kitkan viisas (Vendace from Lake Kitka), PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)

kitkan_viisasThe regions of Kuusamo and Posio are known for their large, clean waterways with abundant fish stocks. These waters are also home to ‘Kitkan viisas’, a small and tasty vendace, which is often said to have gained its sobriquet during the Russian Revolution. At the time, the Koillismaa region in north-eastern Finland also saw local residents head east to participate in the building of a socialist utopia. People started calling the little fish ‘Kitkan viisas’ or ‘the Sage of Lake Kitka’ as it was smart enough not to leave its home region, despite having access to rivers running eastwards. Because of its Arctic habitat with low nutritional levels, Kitkan viisas is smaller than other freshwater vendace and its backbone does not harden but remains soft. (Image: Jarmo Pitkänen)

Sahti (beer), TSG (Traditional Speciality Quaranteed)

sahtiA unique Finnish beer, Sahti is made from traditional ingredients and has no additives. Once ready, Sahti is not filtered or pasteurised but served fresh. Sahti is among the world’s most unusual and distinctive malt beverages and one of the last few remaining original beers in Western Europe. Traditionally a drink for celebrations, Sahti is still part of rural culture in its region of origin in Kanta- and Päijät-Häme and Northern Satakunta. (Image: The photo archive of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)

Kalakukko (fish and pork pie), TSG (Traditional Speciality Quaranteed)

KalakukkoKuopio, in eastern Finland, is known for its Kalakukko, fish and pork pie, which has always made a handy packed lunch and a popular gift. It combines bread, fish and meat in one package. The traditional kalakukko from the Savo region is either round or oval in shape. At its best when still warm, the pie is cut open at the top. Slices are then cut off the crust and topped with the pie filling and some butter. It is purely a question of taste whether you prefer vendace or perch as the filling. The best Kalakukko pies can be found in speciality bakeries and market halls and at outdoor markets.

Lapin PuikulaLapinpuikula (potato),  PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)

Lapin Puikula is a northern potato variety. For centuries now, it has been cultivated in Lapland where the unique conditions lend it its characteristic flavour and aroma. (Image: Marjo Särkkä-Tirkkonen)

Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha (Cold-smoked reindeer meat), PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)

Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha is produced, processed and packaged in Finland’s reindeer husbandry regions. Free-roaming reindeer, centuries of experience in processing and smoking the meat, and salting and smoking over slow-burning alder, birch or juniper wood for a week are the elements that produce this unique, tender meat with its rich aroma and distinctive flavour. (Image:  Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)

Puruveden muikku  (Vendace from Lake Puruvesi),  PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)

MuikkuA great delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries, this vendace from Lake Puruvesi has been a source of wealth for the region since the era of Swedish rule. Its special characteristic is its soft backbone, which means it can be prepared by frying and smoking or used in soups without the need for deboning. The lake’s unusually clear water gives the fish its silvery colour. Puruveden muikku is also known for the methods used to catch it, as it is usually done with traditional techniques such as using seine. The skills required to locate and catch the fish have been passed from one generation to another. The vendace is also caught on the moonlit nights of late autumn when it comes to the surface of the water – an unusual fishing method that is typical of Lake Puruvesi, with its clear water.
Muikun nuottausta Puruvedellä – Fishing at lake Puruvesi, Saimaa, Finland (Youtube)

Lapin Poron liha (Reindeer meat from Lapland), PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)

PoronlihaA typical staple of northern larders is reindeer. Lapin Poron liha, the meat of this semi-domesticated deer still carries the unique flavour of game. Since we know that the reindeer is selective in its diet, it should come as no surprise that reindeer meat is of excellent quality. When served reindeer, you are offered more than a meat dish. You are offered a journey to riverbanks painted with autumn colours, slopes with wind whistling amidst dwarf birches, freedom – the entire Arctic world and culture. (Image: Erkki Viero)

Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pie),  TSG (Traditional Speciality Quaranteed)

karjalanpiirakka (2)Who doesn’t love the authentic Karjalanpiirakka, Karelian rice pie? Karjalanpiirakka is true national food. Fresh from the oven and with a layer of melting butter on top, these fragrant pies are bound to make your mouth water. Karjalanpiirakka has the fresh flavour of rye. They are suitable for parties and everyday occasions and can be served as a snack and as a side dish with a meal. Not only traditional and delicious, they are also healthy. Karjalanpiirakka can be eaten as they are or topped with cold meats or a mixture of egg and butter.

Lapin Poron kuivaliha (Dried reindeer meat from Lapland) , PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)

Lapin Poron kuivaliha is prepared by drying it outdoors between February and April, using a method that dates back centuries. The fluctuations in temperature that occur in northern climes in late winter make the meat tender and give it its natural flavour. In his ‘History of the Northern Peoples’ from 1555, Olaus Magnus mentions the delicious taste of this handy field-trip snack. (Image: The Reindeer Herders’ Association)

Kainuun rönttönen (Rye pie with lingonberries), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)

Kainuun_RönttönenIn the Kainuu region, bread and other baked goods hold pride of place on the dinner table. It is said that back in the day, when food was in short supply in late winter and the menfolk had to go into the woods for a day’s work, the womenfolk took the last few lingonberries and potatoes from the food store and baked them inside a rye crust. That is how ‘rönttönen’ came to be. At the time, sugar was extremely hard to come by. In Kainuu, lingonberry pies were baked to satisfy the locals’ sweet tooth. The sweetness came from the potatoes that were cooked slowly at a low temperature to allow the starch to break up. Sourdough was used to give a fluffy crust and a rich flavour to the pies, which were baked in a bread oven to produce a delicacy with a crisp crust. (Image: Hilla Martikainen)

vadelmalikoori_SMMSuomalainen Marjalikööri, Suomalainen Hedelmälikööri (Finnish berry liqueur and Finnish fruit liqueur), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)

These Finnish berry and fruit liqueurs are made from fruit and berries harvested in Finland. Pure Nordic nature and the light-filled summer nights lend the products their unique flavour, freshness, and colour – to delight all our senses. Produced by a master liqueur-maker, the liqueurs are prepared by infusing spirits with fruit or berries until the beverage matures and achieves a rich flavour and beautiful colour. Enjoy Finnish berry or fruit liqueur as-is, use it in mixed drinks or cocktails, or add to a dish to enhance its authentic Finnish aromas.

Suomalainen Vodka (vodka of Finland), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)

kuvaplugifi_vodka_SMM_kehysMade from Finnish cereal or potatoes and pure Finnish water by distilling, vodka from Finland is an internationally renowned alcoholic beverage. Even though vodka has traditionally been a clear and colourless drink, flavoured varieties are available too. Thanks to its pure flavour, Finnish vodka comes into its own in the form of chilled shots, but it is also suitable for use in cocktails and mixed drinks. (Image: Kuvaplugi.fi)

The protected product name campaign is part of the national Nimisuojasta kilpailukykyä (Competitiveness through name protection) project. The goal of the project is to improve the competitiveness of Finnish food products via the EU schemes to protect names of agricultural products and foodstuffs.

 

 

Product card makes it easier for kitchens and wholesalers to offer local food products

Professional kitchens, wholesalers in the hotel, restaurant and catering (HoReCa) sector and retailers are all looking to increase the range of local foods in their selections. To foster collaboration among various operators, a supplier’s product card has been developed to offer support in negotiations between small companies and buyers.

A simple, everyday tool, the product card helps producers to identify their product’s strengths prior to sales negotiations. The card highlights points that buyers are interested in when evaluating new products.

– First and foremost, the card is intended to help producers prepare for sales negotiations with a potential buyer, explains project manager Päivi Töyli from the University of Turku’s Brahea Centre.

The card includes information on the product’s shelf-life and suitability for special diets, and on whether it is organic and how it is ordered and delivered. The idea behind the card is to encourage producers to analyse their product’s unique selling points and stand-out qualities.

– Small companies’ products have their place in supermarket selections. In the retail sector, we have gained positive experiences from product cards and it’s excellent news that a new and improved version of the tool is now available to assist in collaboration between small companies and HoReCa wholesalers, says the Finnish Grocery Trade Association’s Director Ilkka Nieminen.

In 2012, the Finnish Grocery Trade Association developed a product card for the retail sector, aimed at facilitating collaboration between small food businesses and retail companies. Soon, various operators realised that a similar card would come in handy in negotiations with HoReCa wholesalers and professional kitchens.

The product card has undergone further development to meet the needs of both groups of buyers. The new card also takes into account recent changes in the requirements for package labelling.

Collaboration among wholesalers, professional kitchens and companies is promoted as part of the Paikallisruoan arvoketjua kehittämässä  (development of local food value chain) project. The main partners of the project are the Finnish Grocery Trade Association, HoReCa wholesalers, regional food-industry developers, and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK). Funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the project began in 2015 and will continue until 2017.

Product card

Product card_2015 , in Finnish and Swedish (if you do not have MS Office, you can download a free Libre Office package from https://fi.libreoffice.org)


The Paikallisruoan arvoketjua kehittämässä project was set up to promote collaboration among HoReCa wholesalers, professional kitchens and local food companies. The Trueflavours.fi (Aitojamakuja.fi) website provides an overview of good practices in this sector.

Running from 2015 to 2017, the project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

#ruokaketju

New guidelines streamlining small-scale production and sale of food products

Finnish legislation on foodstuffs now allows various forms of small-scale sale and processing of foods without excessive red tape. Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry financed the publication of an information booklet on small-scale, low-risk production and sale of food items. The publication provides information on the practical application of legislation on foodstuffs and measures taken to make it easier to start a food business. With these measures, there is no danger of food safety being compromised, and no corners will be cut in terms of companies’ responsibilities.

Under the new guidelines prepared in collaboration with operators in the sector, small-scale and low-risk processing of foods may now be performed in connection with primary production without the need to submit a notification on food premises to authorities. ‘Low-risk product’ refers to foodstuffs, such as cakes, that can be stored at room temperature. The brochure provides examples of low-risk products and offers advice on the handling of products that present higher risk. The upper limit for small-scale sales is set at 10,000 euros per year. The regulations of the Finnish tax Administration apply to the operations.

For instance, the new guidelines enable a pick-your-own-fruit farm to set up a café for the summer season without submitting a notice about food premises. Establishing a farm shop too has been made easier, with a business-owner allowed to sell produce from other producers also (with the exception of eggs and raw milk) without submitting a food-premises notification. These regulations apply to private persons also, not only to businesses. Some examples are available at www.aitojamakuja.fi/suoramyynti. The examples also facilitate the monitoring of notification-related restrictions affecting small-scale and low-risk food-business operations.

The new brochure complements a series of publications on direct sales of local foods, foodstuffs production, and sales and retail activities. The guidelines are part of the Finnish government’s spearhead project aimed at the streamlining of regulations pertaining to business. The parties involved in the preparation of the brochure were the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), the Swedish-language organisation for agricultural producers (SLC), the Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation, and the University of Turku’s Brahea Centre.

More information:
Marjatta Rahkio, the Ministry of Agriculture, +358 295 162 102, marjatta.rahkio [ at ] mmm.fi
Johanna Mattila, Brahea Centre at the University of Turku, p. 040 565 8121, johanna.mattila [ at ] utu.fi

 

The Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, boosting the growth of food businesses

The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020 offers various tools for the development of food businesses. Basic information can be found in the programme’s publications, and the experts with the project may be contacted for further assistance.

New companies and businesses looking to expand may apply for funding from the programme. Not intended only for farm-owners, these subsidies may also be applied for by other food businesses.

Several funding schemes exist, to meet specific needs. Start-up support is designed to assist in the establishment of a new company, changing of an existing company’s operations, or experimental activities. Investment support is intended for companies looking to make acquisitions. The investment feasibility study subsidies provide assistance in planning of investments. Food-sector joint projects assistance is available for a group of companies planning both company-specific and joint business development measures. The goal may be to develop new products and methods, form shorter delivery chains, undertake marketing and sales collaboration, or develop joint product ranges.

The support and its terms and conditions are determined on the basis of whether the company processes agricultural products or produces foodstuffs. Further information is available in the following brochures about the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:

The website of the Agency for Rural Affairs offers further information on business subsidies. A brief introduction to the support schemes is available in Finnish at www.aitojamakuja.fi/arkisto/Ruokayritysten_tuet_2016.pdf.

Finland’s local food co-ordination project has also published other material, guides, and instructions for food businesses. You can read more at www.aitojamakuja.fi under ‘Materials’.

 

Delicacies from small Finnish producers entering the French market

Finland boasts numerous small companies that produce top-quality food products. However, the domestic market for niche products is relatively small, propelling companies to turn their gaze abroad for growth opportunities.

Known as the home of gastronomy, France has a domestic food market that is many times the size of Finland’s. Cracking this tough market would open the doors to many of the world’s top restaurants for Finnish producers.

‘There is potential for demand for Finnish products to grow in France, as the world’s top chefs are always on the look-out for new, high-quality ingredients that will help them stand out from the crowd. But a good product isn’t enough: other factors, such as service, are an essential part of the export of top-quality products, and once Finns understand this, the doors to the French market will open,’ explains Jarna Coadic, from Paris-based promotion company Action Finland!

A meet-the-buyer event at Paris’s Le Pavillon Dauphine

Pariisi_02022016
Tuesday culminates in a VIP event with a guest list featuring the top tier of the Parisian gastronomic world

The ProAgria advisory organisation and Action Finland!, a Paris-based company with expertise in the French market, have arranged a week-long promotional event offering 15 Finnish producers an opportunity to showcase their food products in Paris. Held at the heart of this metropolis, the event offered France’s food professionals an introduction to Finnish products.
Guests included chefs from Michelin-Star restaurants, buyers, celebrities in the field of gastronomy, directors of wholesale and catering companies, representatives of the world’s largest wholesale market, owners of gourmet and speciality food shops, members of the media, and well-known bloggers.

The afternoon’s event was part of ProAgria’s programme promoting Finnish exports to France, funded by Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Export of Finnish top products to France began in autumn 2015.

A new export programme

In spring 2015, ProAgria and Action Finland! Launched a Franco-Finnish collaboration project aimed at offering small Finnish food businesses a concrete opportunity to enter the French luxury-product market. The Finnish products accepted for the programme have been carefully hand-picked, through French expertise.

‘We have selected only products that have a good chance of gaining a foothold in the difficult French market. It’s a challenging task, as buyers in France expect high standards with regard to both the product and service,’ explains Tuula Repo, from ProAgria.

As part of the project, the parties have created a process for identifying target groups and the preferences of potential buyers, testing products, kick-starting export, and increasing product awareness in France. Products from all the companies participating in the programme have been tested by top food experts in Paris. Now the doors to the French market have opened, and product orders and deliveries began in autumn 2015.

Companies participating in the project:

  • Alabi Oy
  • Arvo Kokkonen Oy
  • F.P. Kotaja
  • Haganol Oy
  • Hki Distilling Company
  • Hukka Design Oy
  • Husulan Puutarha Ky
  • Jorma Martinmäki Oy
  • Joy of North
  • Lapin Marja
  • Malmgårdin Kartano
  • Petäjälammen Herkku
  • Sienestä Oy
  • Vavesaaren Tila Oy
  • Åbyn Leipomo Oy

More information:

Jarna Coadic Action Finland!, Paris +33 6 24 32 14 73 jcoadic@jcactionexport.com
Tuula Repo ProAgria Etelä-Suomi ry, Kouvola +358 (0)40 588 0958 tuula.repo@proagria.fi