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

Local specialities on the map

National and local delicacies – a food map of Finland

Expedia has created an interactive map that enables users to learn about traditional Finnish foods. Some of these delicacies are known to most Finns, while others are local specialities familiar only to residents of a specific region. Besides showing the geographic origin of a delicacy, the service offers a recipe for it.

Finland boasts a rich food culture, which takes its ingredients from the country’s nature, history, national identity, and culture. Because of our geographic location, we have assimilated both Western and Eastern influences into our food culture, resulting in the existence of local foods with various strong links to a certain region and area. More information on food culture can be found on the Web site of the Ruokatieto association, offering information about the history of Finland’s food culture and modern Finnish cuisine.

By clicking on the picture of a meal, you can find a recipe for it. Click on the map to activate it.
You can browse the map at https://blogi.expedia.fi/makuja-suomesta/ also.