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Fresh cut contributes to expanding Finnish customer demand

The fact that Finland is two days further on in the logistics chain has historically put them at a disadvantage when you compare the variety of the products available there compared to western Europe. Although some domestically grown products are available during the summer period, a lot of the fruit and vegetables that the country consumes have to be imported. Shelf life was often an issue in the past because of the longer transit times, especially with items like salad, however, there have been real improvements in recent years.

"Finland is definitely an emerging market. Especially when you compare the market to countries like the Netherlands, France or Great Britain, it is still pretty small. Also, Fresh uses the perfect opportunity in the supply chain for the company to create their own brand. 60-65% of consumers in Finland recognise Fresh Servant’s ‘Hetki’ as a brand, along with the private labels they produce." shared Wim Zomer, consultant for Finnish company Fresh Servant Oy.

Now in its second generation, the family run company Fresh Servant, added their salad and convenience business to its offering around 20 years ago, along with launching salad buffets for supermarkets around 2 years ago. The organization continues to grow at a fast pace, completing a new factory a few years ago, which is already too small. Plans for further expansions are being made to give the more then 300 employees all the space and conditions they need to produce daily fresh products for Finnish consumers. The company is rapidly establishing itself as a brand in the supermarkets, as a field-to-fork supplier. Mainly mixed salads for the retail, but also salads and vegetable mixes for the food service.

Managing Director, Sami Haapasalmi (left) and Interim operational manager/consultant, Wim Zomer (right).

"Customers can put the salad together however they like with all of the different options for one price. The salad bar offers more than just fruits and vegetables, also giving the options of extras like croutons, cheese, boiled eggs, shrimp etc., all of which is supplied by the company." shared Wim.

The variety in terms of fresh cut produce that is offered is very limited in Finland, compared to other countries in western Europe, with cut salads and vegetable mixes for soup being the most prevalent. However, just as it is in other places around the world, the urban areas are more open for trying the different mixes.

The salad mixes started off with iceberg and have now expanded into baby leaves, with mixes including things like rucola, raddich leaves and oak leaves. New products, such as power salads with beans, quinoa, and different kind of seeds and single portioned lunch salads are expected to be launched this year. Wok/stir fry cooking vegetable mixes is also a focus for 2017.

"The Finnish market is very traditional, to the point where it becomes a sort of patriotism. It is the type of market where consumers say 'our products first', when given the choice of two products which are the same quality and price wise, they will choose the Finnish producer. The average consumer is deeply rooted in eating the standard potatoes, meat, with a vegetable. However, it is changing, and fresh is playing a big role. Our company continues to innovate and we have been adding new products every year." concludes Wim.

For more information:
Sami Haapasalmi
Fresh Servant Oy AB
Tel: +358 447812430
Wim Zomer
Tel: +31653792791
Email: wim@fresh.fi

Publication date: 1/10/2017
Author: Heather Wicks
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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