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Demand for organic products rises, milk and bananas top list

Pro Luomu estimates that 250 million euros worth of organic products were sold in Finnish shops between July 2015 and June 2016, expanding the sector’s market share to 1.9 percent. The group reports that the top five organic foods were bananas, eggs, two-percent milk, skim milk and apples. The top domestically-produced organic products were eggs, milk, minced meat, carrots and tomatoes.

Nainen valitsee salaattia kaupan hedelmä ja vihannes osastolla.
Image: Ville Välimäki / Yle

Sales of organic products in Finnish shops grew by 12 percent last year, as the country continues to come around to the idea of organic food. The number is more impressive when compared to overall retail trade growth for the same period, which was limited to just 0.3 percent

Marja-Riitta Kottila of the Finnish organic food association Pro Luomu says consumers in Finland are growing more interested in how food production methods affect the welfare of people, animals and nature.

“Selection has also improved as new products have been introduced. Above all, prices have come down. These two factors combined have led to a visible spike in sales,” she says.

Retailers have also devoted more effort to the marketing of organic produce, especially in the capital city region. The sale of organic products has clearly grown more in the Helsinki metropolitan area than in the country on average.

Some products hot, some not

Finland’s best-selling organic product is still milk. If two-percent and skim versions are counted together, they account for about 13 percent of all organic product sales. Sales of organic fruits and vegetables have grown considerably in the last year. Organic apples and bananas are also in the top five, along with eggs. Sales of organic coffee have risen as the selection has improved.

Organic products originating in Finland are also growing in popularity, led by eggs, milk and minced meat. Organic cheeses made in Finland are also attracting a growing clientele.

Some organic products sales have slowed, however. For example, sales of organic breads, beers, yogurts and meats products have gone down in the last year.

Overall customer awareness in Finland of organic alternatives remains marginal when compared to their neighbours in Denmark and Sweden. The market share of organic products is still slightly under two percent.

More than a tenth of eggs sold are organic

Yet there are some organic products that carry a much larger share: for example 13 percent of the eggs bought in Finland are organic, while ten percent of baby food also shares that distinction.

Kottila says that organic consumers in Finland fall into several different groups.

“Typically when a child is born into a family, their interest in food grows. They pay attention to what they offer their young child. Many older people that devote a lot of time to preparing food are also interested in organic produce. Perhaps a newer target group are those that are really into fitness and health and take good care of themselves,” she says.

The assessment of the organic market surveyed retailers in Finland from July 2015 to June 2016. The study was funded by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

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