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Finnish importer Tomi Hakkarainen:

“In the future, there will likely be a shortage of growers in Finland”

Finland’s domestic fruit and vegetable production consists mainly of apples and greenhouse tomatoes and the country has to import many fruits and vegetables in order to supply the country’s demand. For import company and wholesaler Satotukku, Spain and Italy are the most important markets, though Poland is becoming increasingly important. Managing director Tomi Hakkarainen says: “We are increasingly importing apples from Poland, and they have begun supplying organic apples too. We also import salads, tomatoes, and sometimes even capsicums from there, it is a growing market and has been gaining importance here in Finland.”

Närpiön Vihannes / Närpes Grönsaker

Concerning trends in the Finnish markets, Tomi remarks on the growing popularity of fruits and vegetables in Finland: “Specifically, berries have been gaining popularity here, as well as avocados. But generally, we have been seeing an increase in the popularity of fruits and vegetables overall. This is partly because of health trends in society, but also because of increased environmental focus which indicates that the meat industry is harmful to the environment. Fruit and vegetable consumption, on the other hand, is associated with being more environmentally friendly. Overall, the publicity for fruits and vegetables has been positive.”

Local production in Finland
The local production has been experiencing issues in meeting the demand because there aren’t enough growers. Tomi explains: “Open field growing is a risky business. It is hard work, and the summers here in Finland are quite short. This year there have been some issues with insects harming the crops, and the weather has been out of the ordinary. This has affected the domestic production of cucumbers, cauliflower and broccoli. Nowadays, there are less people who are willing to take the risk so we are seeing the number of growers decrease; in the future there will likely be a shortage.”

Right: Tomi Hakkarainen, managing director of Satotukku

Similarly, Tomi remarks on the local greenhouse production: “The number of greenhouse growers is decreasing too, though the production volumes are increasing. The improvements in technology make it possible to have a smaller number of growers working in the greenhouses, while producing larger volumes of fruits and vegetables. There are a few strong growers that invest in bigger and better greenhouses, and they are able to get cheaper energy and have year-round production.”

Närpiön Vihannes / Närpes Grönsaker 

Falling in line with consumers of other European countries, the Finnish are showing preference for locally grown products over imported ones. Tomi says: “Locally grown products are often more expensive than imported products because the greenhouses here in Finland are very sophisticated. Due to the climate, the greenhouses have to have advanced technology to ensure that the right temperatures are achieved and maintained throughout the harsh winters. But the consumers are willing to pay the higher prices, so the demand for domestic produce does continue to grow. This doesn’t threaten the importing businesses, though, because the local production will always need to be supplemented with imported produce” concludes Tomi.  

For more information: 
Tomi Hakkarainen
Tel: +358 409009101