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Lube and cat litter: See Finland's top Wolt orders

People in Finland are increasingly using couriers to run their errands.

Ruokalähetti pyöräilee kadulla.
Two years ago the occupational health arm of state agency Avi ruled that couriers delivering items via Wolt should be considered employees of the company, not entrepreneurs. Image: Joel Peltonen / Yle
Yle News

Today a fifth of Wolt orders are something other than restaurant takeout — a trend that's spread across Finland.

Finnish-based food delivery service Wolt operates in over 60 locations in Finland, while Foodora is active in around 100.

Personal lubricants are the most-ordered single product in Turku, Jyväskylä and Oulu. Users in Helsinki and Tampere are most likely to buy cat litter through the platform.

"There may be shame associated with buying these things, but it can also be a situation-inspired thing," explained Terhi-Anna Wilska, a consumer expert at the University of Jyväskylä.

When it comes to groceries, cucumbers are the most-purchased item in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Jyväskylä.

Wilska said she believed it was problematic that people are increasingly getting accustomed to outsourcing their lifestyles.

"It's incredibly hedonistic, or pleasure-oriented, when you consider that it's often underpaid immigrant workers delivering the products to your doorstep. There's something colonial about the whole thing," she told Yle.

Lauri Syvänen, Foodora's head of operations, argued that different people value different things.

"For some people, it's important to relax and be able to order in from time to time. So, we don't believe that the service makes people lazy but instead gives them more freedom," he explained.

When it comes to the food couriers, Wolt said that they aim to price tasks attractively. Foodora meanwhile said their couriers average 17.50 euros per hour.

"For many immigrants, partnering with us as couriers is their first contact with Finnish society. In this way, we're supporting them," said Syvänen from Foodora.

Wilska meanwhile said she sees a conflict in Finns' new convenience-driven consumer behaviour.

"We who like to advocate for equality, ethics and anti-racism, are quite happy to use the services of underpaid migrants just because we don't feel like getting off the sofa," she said.

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