Dairy products are increasingly popular in Finland
In 2011 quark and yoghurt consumption reached record levels, while butter consumption per capita was up one kilo from the previous year
Finns have sharply increased their intake of dairy products. Supermarkets report that more consumers are buying quark, yoghurt, cheese, and butter.
Only the consumption of regular milk has declined, indicates a forecast made by the Pellervo Economic Research (PTT) for the Finnish agricultural and food sectors.
The growth has been huge. Per capita consumption of butter grew from six kilogrammes in 2010 to seven kg. last year.
Valio, Finland’s leading manufacturer of dairy products, says that its butter sales increased even more – over 20 per cent in a year. Sales of butter-vegetable oil mixtures also grew rapidly.
Valio’s sales of yoghurt and quark also increased by more than 10 per cent on the previous year. The dairy cooperative does not disclose precise sales figures for its products.
Pellervo believes that the consumption of milk products will continue to grow this year. The only exception will be butter, as it has grown in popularity so rapidly that further increase is not believed to be possible.
”After last year’s jump, the level of consumption is likely to remain unchanged”, says Kyösti Arovuori, Agricultural Economist at PTT.
Experts see a number of trends behind the growth. The butter boom is a consequence of a debate on the health effects of various fats. Even the appreciation of tastes and products considered “genuine” has increased.
”The popularity of quark indicates an increase in the perceived nutritional value of proteins, which is much written about”, says Senior Vice President Sami Nupponen, who is in charge of fresh dairy products at Valio.
Regular quark is high in protein and low in fat, which is a combination sought by many health and fitness enthusiasts. Low-carb diets also encourage people to consume plenty of proteins.
In recent years a large number of new products have been developed around quark and yoghurt. Some yoghurt varieties appeal to consumers with their health benefits, while it has also become increasingly popular to use high-fat yoghurts to replace cream in cooking. Meanwhile, supermarkets offer a wide array of flavoured quarks on their milk shelves.
”One of the underlying factors behind the current popularity of these products is the trend to eat snacks more often”, Nupponen notes.
According to Nupponen, the growth in popularity covers all product types. The demand for both Valio’s traditional yoghurts, stomach-friendly A+ yoghurts, and “digestion yoghurts” has increased.
On the other hand, Pellervo’s Arovuori also finds consumers’ behaviour somewhat contradictory. The trend of avoiding carbohydrates has been widely debated in public. In practice, this would mean a reduction in the consumption of bread.
”But theoretically, the growth in the popularity of various spreads, including butter and butter-vegetable oil mixtures, indicates that people are still eating bread. I do not believe that the consumption of bread will decline”, Arovuori says.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Pekka Puska: Butter boom will blow over soon (30.9.2011)
Butter consumption increases in both Sweden and Finland (29.9.2011)
Milk producers argue about price of milk and Valio’s market leader position (23.2.2012)
Dairy production does not meet demand in Finland - Valio limits butter exports (13.12.2011)
Rapid growth experienced in foodstuff exports to Russia (20.6.2011)
Pellervo Economic Research (PTT)