Finland - Where bread and butter IS the bread and butter

Finland – Where bread and butter IS the bread and butter

Jyrki Kallinen

In Finland, bread is an essential element on the Finnish food tables, throughout the typical day from breakfast until dinner. Breads based on rye, oat, barley, wheat, spelt, and buckwheat are available in broad forms such as basic loafs, toasts, buns, baguettes and tons of more. The Finnish Bread Information (Leipätiedotus Ry), established in 1961, is an association that acts as a general information service of bread business. Their mission is crisp and clear: To get everybody to enjoy bread. Simply put, they have done astonishing job. In Finland, 99,7 percent eat bread!

Taste and convenience, baked in bread

In the Spring of 2021, The Finnish Bread Information and Crowst started to collaborate on consumer understanding, preferences and behaviour related to bread consumption. Kaisa Mensonen (Executive Director of The Finnish Bread Information) encapsulates the formidable position of bread in Finland as follows; “In Finland, the key factors fuelling bread consumption are emotionally linked. Taste based on previous experience, perceived healthiness, as well as suitability for vegetarian diet are examples of these”, Mensonen outlines. “Bread is considered as a healthy wholegrain source, and it is commonly considered as healthy food also for children. From the perspective of daily life cycle, Finns have adopted bread as a quick, convenient energy booster when the body signals fatigue during the busy day”, Mensonen adds.

Mensonen speaks with strong experience, backed up with the fresh study results. According to the recent nationally representative study that was executed in Finland in May 2021, it is possible to conclude that bread is an integral element in people’s lives, from the cradle to the grave. “Based on the study results, 99,7 percent of the respondents eat bread, and 65 percent eat three loafs or more per day”, states Mensonen. These kind of consumption figures are admirable virtually for any food product category.

“Based on the study results, 99,7 percent of the respondents eat bread, and 65 percent eat three loafs or more per day.”

Covid has boosted bread consumption, oat gaining share

The past 18 months have been exceptional for all of us due to the covid pandemic. When examining its implications on bread consumption, the study reveals that the pandemic has had a boosting effect in Finland. “While the majority says that their bread consumption has remained at the same level, almost 20 percent of the respondents state that their bread consumption has increased at the time of covid. This trend is consistent when examining different consumer segments, such as people under and over 40 years of age, male and female, and households with (or without) children below 18 years of age”, describes Terhi Virtanen, Project Coordinator at The Finnish Bread Information.

Finnish bread selection at a supermarket

When thinking of the range and richness of the bread selection, Finnish grocery stores are hard to beat. Breads based on rye, oat, barley, wheat, spelt, and buckwheat, available as loafs, toasts, buns, baguettes, just to name a few. The picture is from the breads section at K-Citymarket Ruoholahti, Helsinki.

Finland has perhaps the world’s leading bread assortment at grocery stores, and the influence of global food macrotrends can be also seen at the store shelves. “According to the study results, 29 percent of the respondents have replaced animal-based food products with oat-based products. For breads, oat-based products continue to increase their market share. In Finland, the three most popular bread types today are rye, oat and mixed grain bread”, Virtanen comments.

Finnish bread for new markets?

Finland has a world-class tradition on making high-quality breads, enriched with a variety of grains, ingredients and form factors. Are the Finnish companies ready to enter new markets, and are the people in new markets ready to adopt new quality breads as part of their daily lives and diets? “We believe there is massive potential for the Finnish bread manufacturers, based on top quality products and consumer demand based on convenience and health factors. We encourage companies to be bold and seek growth in new markets. Crowst is the engine of meaningful, agile insights that help to take go-to-market strategies into action”, Mensonen closes.

“Crowst is the engine for meaningful, agile insights that help to take go-to-market strategies into action.” -Kaisa Mensonen, Executive Director of The Finnish Bread Information

Are you interested in the topic? Have a further read on our collaboration with Vaasan, a top Finnish bread and bakery products maker.

The background information on the study referred to in this article: 1000 respondents, nationally representative sample of 18-70 year-old consumers in Finland. The study was conducted in May 2021 in Finland.