You can find local food, but finding it could be easier

Local food is made in its own region and with regional ingredients, and shelf information in the shops would make it easier to find. Such responses, for example, were given in a visitor survey at the Local & Organic Food Fair.

Visitors at the Local & Organic Food Fair, which took place at Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre from 11 to 13 April, were asked what local food means to them, how and where to find it and also if they know about trueflavours.fi.

During the three-day fair, 184 respondents answered the survey. Each day, the respondents were entered in a drawing to win a book on wild herbs. The winners and the atmosphere of the fair can be seen on the Local Food Programme blog.

The majority or 71% of the respondents stated that local food is “food that is made in its own region and with ingredients from that region”. Half stated that it is domestic food. To approximately one third of the respondents, local food is “food that is made in its own region, whose ingredients can come from elsewhere in Finland”. 29 respondents considered local food to be food based on the food traditions of one’s own region. In addition, other factors considered to be local food included the growth/production of ingredients taking place as close as possible to someone/someone’s home, food production in neighbouring areas including Estonia, Latvia and Stockholm County and that production sees to to the well-being of animals.

Approximately two thirds of the respondents would like to buy local food at the supermarket when going shopping and approximately 60% considered a corner shop close to them to be the best place for shopping when asked where they would go to buy local food. 70 respondents were in support of shops specialised in local food, 80 respondents would buy straight from the farm, 36 respondents would buy through a food co-op and 33 would shop online.

To the question “Should local food be more clearly labelled at the shop and how”, 65% of the respondents considered that the best option would be information on the shelf, including, for example, a label next to the price. 61% would like to see local food labelling on packages. Just under one fifth of the respondents would like to have more information available next to the product, such as leaflets, and 8% thought a good idea would be the possibility to see more information on the product with a QR code.

57% of the respondents easily find local food at the shops, even though they have to know where to look for it. 10% of the respondents explained that they easily find local food, but it is rather difficult for 38% to find it in the shop. Two respondents were not even interested in looking for or finding local food.

The majority or 72% of the respondents have not visited www.trueflavours.fi. 49 respondents have visited the website. When asked “What information would you like to get on businesses on the website”, a majority of respondents (133) would like further information on where to shop for local and organic food. Half of the respondents found it important to locate a business on a map and to get information on its product selection. Information on food tourism sites piqued the interest of one fourth of the respondents. In addition, the respondents would like the website to have more recipes, information on prices and also information on catering businesses specialised in local food.

Text: Pauliina Hakanen

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