Kesko has commissioned an extensive study involving experts, retailers, suppliers and K-Plussa customers in the grocery trade to identify food-related trends and phenomena for next year. The results of the study reveal what Finnish people will put in their shopping baskets next year.
The largest food trends – informed consumption, everyday well-being and "ready quickly" – are already established among Finnish people. In addition to well-being and making everyday life easier, customers are also well informed about the impact of their own actions on the environment; 47 per cent of Finns are striving to reduce food wastage.
Targeted choices that support consumers' own well-being and food trends that appeal to experiences and feelings will see stronger growth next year. These trends include tailored well-being, fine-tuned food and food adventures. These trends are still small all over Finland but they are garnering interest.
"Customers have many needs that stores must address. These needs also vary depending on the circumstances. Every person is different. That is why every K-food store is different and is tailored to the demands of local customers. Common attributes for all food stores are listening to consumers' wishes and addressing customers' needs," says Ari Akseli, the Vice President for Kesko's grocery trade.
According to K-Plussa customers, "fine-tuned food" will be next year's fastest growing trend.
"Cooking in and of itself has become a trend. Finnish people want to try new recipes and use better ingredients. They want to cook with friends and family," says Markus Ranne, the retailer from K-supermarket Hertta.
The vegetable boom shows no sign of tailing off
Increasing the consumption of vegetables and new vegetable-based proteins were among the major food-related talking points in 2016. Several of the food trends will also support increased vegetable consumption next year. More than half of Finnish people (57%) plan to eat more fruit and vegetables. 51 per cent of Finnish people say they will buy more berries. The majority of Finnish people also plan to increase their purchases of sweet potato (42%) and avocado (34%) next year.
"Avocado has become everyone's favourite food. K-food stores sell 2.1 million kilos of avocado annually. Sales of sweet potato are approximately half of this – a million kilos – so it is interesting that this product will overtake the avocado on customers' shopping lists next year," says Akseli.
As many as 31 per cent of Finnish people plan to buy Pulled Oats next year.
"Pulled Oats, Härkis, Mifu and other meat substitutes are revolutionising Finnish dining habits. People are increasingly aware of the effects of their own consumption on their health and the environment, and up to 13 per cent of Finnish people plan to have vegetarian days next year," says Akseli.
At the same time, 52 per cent of Finnish people plan to purchase more meat from small producers, so people are not giving up meat altogether. Above all, people will retain an interest in food from small producers. Meaningful products, such as artisanal products, and the stories behind how they are made, will grow in popularity. In 2016, this was apparent in the rise of beverages from microbreweries. Next year, growth is expected in several product groups, including meat, sausages, chocolate, cheese and cider.
Ease is becoming more important
Making everyday life easier gives rise to conflicting feelings: people are looking for ways to make life easier, but they do not always want to admit it. People also want to make food more easily: up to 54 per cent of Finnish people plan to buy more ingredients for stews next year. They are seeking variation in their everyday meals by using seasonal foods.
"The demand for hassle-free food has not led to a corresponding increase in the sales of processed convenience foods. There has been growth in customers' wishes for fresh products that have undergone more stages of preparation and clean ingredients that are easy to prepare. This is apparent in the growth in demand for filleted fish," says Jouni Ekholm, the retailer at K-supermarket Mustapekka.
Easy-to-eat snacks and drinks to take away will also become more popular next year.
"The desire for easy ways for customers to look after their well-being is apparent in terms of the increased range of well-being drinks and various vitamin drinks. Coconut water and aloe vera drinks will be increasingly popular on beverage shelves next year," says Akseli.
What Finns will consume in 2017
47 per cent of Finnish people will strive to reduce food wastage.
34 per cent of Finnish people will favour local food.
19 per cent will favour ethical food that has a smaller environmental impact.
38 per cent of Finnish people appreciate solutions that make everyday life easier and quicker.
On weekdays, 18 per cent of Finns favour food that can be put on the table within 15 minutes.
17 per cent of Finnish people will use semi-ready foods.
53 per cent of Finnish people will actively promote their own well-being through everyday food choices.
43 per cent of Finnish people will make an effort to make better weekday food that is diverse and enjoyable.
30 per cent of people will look for healthier alternatives to things they are used to; for example, they may eat less red meat.
16 per cent will follow a specific diet in order to feel better.
13 per cent of Finnish people want to have vegetarian days without giving up meat altogether.
16 per cent want to make restaurant-standard food at home.
12 per cent favour products with a story behind them.
10 per cent favour unique products that are not available in every store.
30 per cent will look to international flavours for variety.
21 per cent will seek new flavour experiences by means such as getting to know new spices and herbs.
13 per cent want to cook with friends.
The data for K's Food Trends study was collected from Kesko's Plussa database in October 2016, and 1,111 Finnish people responded to the survey. The study was carried out by Frankly Partners.