Edellinen Organic sales have not yet recovered in Finland

The year 2023 was challenging for organic products – growth momentum can be sought from professional kitchens

Although the year 2023 was not the best year for organic products according to statistics, the use of organic products has grown rapidly in professional kitchens and consumer interest in organic products has remained. The Organic in Finland summary compiles public organic statistics.

In 2023, organic products faced challenges from consumers’ increased price sensitivity and changes in agricultural subsidies in primary production. Additionally, variable weather conditions negatively impacted the yields of organic grains and wild organic products.

Organic products were sold in grocery stores for a total of 352 million euros, and the share of organic products in the total grocery sales was about 1.9%. Sales decreased by 6% from the previous year.

“Last year, the organic sector faced many challenges, but the statistics also show positive developments for organic products. The rise in food prices negatively affected the sales of organic products in grocery stores across several product categories. However, the sales of organic baby food, for example, continued to develop favourably,” notes Aura Lamminparras, the Executive Director of Pro Luomu.

Positive growth for organic products from professional kitchens

According to a study conducted in January 2024 (Luomutetaan ruokapalvelut, 2024), the use of organic products in public food services has grown rapidly over the past two years. Of the public food services, 91% report using at least one organic product at least monthly, and as many as 63% report using organic products daily. The highest percentages of organic product use are in kindergartens and schools. According to the Organic Consumer Barometer (Kantar Agri, 2023), 59% of Finns consider offering organic products in these settings to be at least fairly important.

“The results regarding the use of organic products in public kitchens were much more positive than we expected. It is great to see that despite the rise in food prices, public kitchens seem committed to promoting the use of organic products. The Finnish government’s goal is for a quarter of the raw materials in public kitchens to be organic by 2030. This goal is well known in professional kitchens, and progress is being made towards it,” says Lamminparras.

The most popular organic products in food services include flakes and groats, milk and dairy products, coffee, and flour. There is a desire to further increase the use of organic products, especially in vegetables and root vegetables, berries, fruits, grain products, and eggs. As many as 30% of food services would like to increase their use of organic products in at least one product category.

13.7% of Finland’s agricultural land is in organic production

In 2023, the area of organically cultivated fields in Finland was 311,498 hectares, which was an 8% decrease compared to the previous year. A total of 142 million kilos of organic grains were produced, with the harvest being 21% smaller than in 2022. More than half of the organic grain harvest, as in previous years, was oats. Organic grains made up 5% of the total grain harvest in Finland.

The largest share of organically cultivated field area as a percentage of the total agricultural land in the country was in North Karelia (24.2%). The largest absolute areas of organically cultivated land were in Northern Ostrobothnia (37,664 hectares) and Southwest Finland (35,277 hectares). Among the regions, Southeastern Finland and Lapland were the only ones where the share of organically cultivated field area remained the same as the previous year.

“The challenges in the organic market and at least partially weaker organic farming subsidies negatively affected the development of the organic field area. However, the development of the organic sector varied considerably between different regions, and for instance, in the strong organic grain cultivation area of Kymenlaakso, the organic sector even grew last year despite everything,” reflects Lamminparras.

Organic products are of interest in different regions

Interest in organic products has remained consistently high nationwide over the past few years. In 2023, Pro Luomu conducted its first survey on Finnish interest in and purchasing of organic products across different regions. The highest proportion of active buyers, who purchase organic products weekly, was found in South Savo (40%). Residents of South Savo also reported the most positive change in their own organic product consumption compared to other regions, with as many as 97% of the population stating they had increased their use of organic products to some extent in the past year. South Savo was also the only region where residents reported that, according to their own assessment, they had not decreased their use of organic products in the past year (Kantar Agri, 2023).

In North Karelia, Central Finland, Pirkanmaa, Uusimaa, and South Karelia, the proportion of active buyers is higher than the national average. Numerically, the highest number of active buyers resides in Uusimaa.

Additional information:

Aura Lamminparras, Executive Director, Pro Luomu ry, tel. 040 556 8097, aura.lamminparras@proluomu.fi

The Organic in Finland 2023 compilation published by Pro Luomu summarizes the results of public organic statistics and the latest surveys of the organic sector. The information in the compilation includes: Statistics from the Finnish Food Authority and the Natural Resources Institute Finland, as well as studies and studies commissioned by Pro Luomu.

This summary of Organic Finland 2023 has been produced by the project “Local Food, Organic and Natural Products – Coordination in the Food Sector,” funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

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