The opportunities for growth in the food industry in Finland are limited. With increased exports, the capacity of the food sector can be increased, which will help strengthen the domestic market and make it more resilient to crises, says Esa Wrang, Director of the Food from Finland program at Business Finland. Food exports are a strategic importance for Finland's self-sufficiency and food security.
Wrang believes that the development of exports encourages companies to engage in more strategic export activities, allocate additional resources to international markets, and adopt new marketing methods and distribution channels.
The biggest export figures have been achieved in France, where growth is around 60% when compared to the previous year. Finnish exports to the EU countries increased by an average of 26%. Our food exports grew to China, Norway, the United States, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand from countries outside the EU. Exports of Finnish food to Germany increased by about 10%.
During the operational period of the Food from Finland program implemented by Business Finland, Finland's food exports to Germany have doubled from EUR 60 million to more than 130 million since 2014. Finnish products are increasingly supplied to German distribution channels.
We work with retail chains such as Edeka and Globus. Finnish products have also been sold to other major distribution channels in Germany, such as REWE and Amazon. Lili Lehtovuori, who is responsible for the activities of the Food from Finland program in Germany, says that you can also succeed in the competitive German market with high quality.
The Food from Finland program will bring 12 Finnish companies to the Internationale Gr ne Woche fair in Berlin on January 20. The participants include Kuivalihakundi, Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas, Kyr Distillery, Kalaneuvos, Kouvolan Lakritsi, Lammin Sahti and Poikain Parhaat.
Export success is a very important factor in our primary production, which creates a strong foundation for the success of the entire food chain. The economic situation of farms is alarming and there is a threat that a large number of them will close down due to poor profitability. Without strong domestic primary production, we'll lose our unique national food profile and competitive advantages in domestic and export markets, says Antti Kurvinen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, who will be visiting Internationale Gr ne Woche.
Finland's main export categories include various dairy products, fresh fish, alcoholic products, pork, sugar chemistry products, mill and cereal products, especially oat and processed oat products, chocolate and sweets, and increasingly various products with supposed health benefits.
The food sector is the fourth largest industry in Finland, employing almost 40,000 people directly and one in eight Finns indirectly, i.e. More than three other jobs are created in Finland by one job in the food industry. In Finland, the domestic value of raw materials is very high 82% and in Finland about 72% of the value added by food exports.
Efforts have been taken to increase the added value of Finnish export products. Finnish food sector and production are sustainable, viable and innovative because of long-term work. The competitiveness of products on the international market is constantly improving, according to Esa Wrang.