“Many farmers are in great difficulty at present, and Finnish food production is in jeopardy. K Group’s 'Thank the Producer' initiative is a way to support Finnish farmers in a tangible way. New 'Thank the Producer' products include vegetables, cheeses and grain and meat products. The additional payment that the producer receives when these products are sold came into effect on 1 October,” says Ari Akseli, President of K Group's grocery trade division.
With 'Thank the Producer' products, the consumer price is slightly higher, and the share paid by K Group to the producer is also higher than normal. K Group pays the additional price directly to the producers.
“The 'Thank the Producer' operating model aims to increase appreciation of Finnish food and of those who produce it. In addition to our own efforts, we want to encourage our customers to participate, since the continued vitality of the Finnish countryside can only be maintained through collaborative effort. Each of us can support Finnish food producers through our daily choices, and can help ensure that Finnish food will continue to be available in the years to come,” says Akseli.
Supporting local products, every day
'Thank the Producer' products are one of the many ways in which K Group supports Finnish agriculture.
“Finnish produce is important to us and to our customers. In total, K-food stores annually sell 5 billion euros worth of Finnish food, and over 80% of all food products we sell are made in Finland. In addition, K-retailers across the country make a valuable contribution through their daily work with farmers and producers in their locality to ensure that local products are always available to consumers,” says Akseli.
Direct purchases by K-retailers from Finland’s provinces came to a total of 748.4 million euros in 2017, an increase of 24% on the previous year. There is a strong focus on local and small-scale producers in store-specific selections.
“We are actively increasing the amount of local purchasing, for example, by organising what we call 'Local Food Dates'. These are events aimed at bringing together local producers and K-food retailers several times a year,” Akseli explains.
“When it comes to local products, customers primarily value quality, taste and local production. Many customers are also willing to pay a little more for such products, making them more profitable for the producer. In recent years, sales of local products have increased by about ten per cent a year, so there is strong demand for high-quality local products,” Akseli concludes.