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Tourist influx triggers food-delivery boom in Finnish Lapland

The busy tourist season is boosting food deliveries, with an international clientele demanding dishes familiar from home.

Ruokaa otetaan buffet-linjastolta lautaselle.
Lapland's culinary offerings are becoming more cosmopolitan. Image: Wasim Khuzam / Yle

The rapid growth of tourism in Finnish Lapland and the culinary tastes of international visitors have led to a spike in food deliveries on northern roads. The volume of wholesale deliveries has risen by a third over the past year.

This winter some 600 charter flights are bringing guests to Finnish Lapland and nearby Kuusamo from various European airports. At Kuusamo airport, the number of incoming leisure flights nearly doubled in December compared to a year earlier.

To each their own

Some locals find it odd that tourists come from Britain and Asia all the way to Lapland, but prefer to eat their own familiar cuisine rather than Lapland's own signature dishes, says Soile Lehtilahti, regional sales director for wholesaler Metro-tukku. However shops on Spain's Costa del Sol, cater to Finnish tourists by selling imported rye bread and liquorice, for instance.

Metro-tukku delivers food, alcoholic beverages and cigarettes to Lapland's tourist resorts from its main warehouse in Helsinki, with northerly terminals in Kemi and Rovaniemi. It is just one of many such firms servicing the ski centres of Finnish Lapland.

Tour operators set menus

Lehtilahti explains that tour operators set the menus for foreign groups. Lapland's restaurants strictly follow these as they place their wholesale orders. British tourists are served British dishes, while Asians are served their own.

These menus are critical to the pricing of group tours. Operators can keep package rates low by serving familiar, middle-of-the-road foods to each group rather than exotic Nordic offerings such as salmon, reindeer or bear.

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