Finland boasts numerous small companies that produce top-quality food products. However, the domestic market for niche products is relatively small, propelling companies to turn their gaze abroad for growth opportunities.[rss-cut]
Known as the home of gastronomy, France has a domestic food market that is many times the size of Finland’s. Cracking this tough market would open the doors to many of the world’s top restaurants for Finnish producers.
‘There is potential for demand for Finnish products to grow in France, as the world’s top chefs are always on the look-out for new, high-quality ingredients that will help them stand out from the crowd. But a good product isn’t enough: other factors, such as service, are an essential part of the export of top-quality products, and once Finns understand this, the doors to the French market will open,’ explains Jarna Coadic, from Paris-based promotion company Action Finland!
A meet-the-buyer event at Paris’s Le Pavillon Dauphine
The ProAgria advisory organisation and Action Finland!, a Paris-based company with expertise in the French market, have arranged a week-long promotional event offering 15 Finnish producers an opportunity to showcase their food products in Paris. Held at the heart of this metropolis, the event offered France’s food professionals an introduction to Finnish products.
Guests included chefs from Michelin-Star restaurants, buyers, celebrities in the field of gastronomy, directors of wholesale and catering companies, representatives of the world’s largest wholesale market, owners of gourmet and speciality food shops, members of the media, and well-known bloggers.
The afternoon’s event was part of ProAgria’s programme promoting Finnish exports to France, funded by Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Export of Finnish top products to France began in autumn 2015.
A new export programme
In spring 2015, ProAgria and Action Finland! Launched a Franco-Finnish collaboration project aimed at offering small Finnish food businesses a concrete opportunity to enter the French luxury-product market. The Finnish products accepted for the programme have been carefully hand-picked, through French expertise.
‘We have selected only products that have a good chance of gaining a foothold in the difficult French market. It’s a challenging task, as buyers in France expect high standards with regard to both the product and service,’ explains Tuula Repo, from ProAgria.
As part of the project, the parties have created a process for identifying target groups and the preferences of potential buyers, testing products, kick-starting export, and increasing product awareness in France. Products from all the companies participating in the programme have been tested by top food experts in Paris. Now the doors to the French market have opened, and product orders and deliveries began in autumn 2015.
Companies participating in the project:
- Alabi Oy
- Arvo Kokkonen Oy
- F.P. Kotaja
- Haganol Oy
- Hki Distilling Company
- Hukka Design Oy
- Husulan Puutarha Ky
- Jorma Martinmäki Oy
- Joy of North
- Lapin Marja
- Malmgårdin Kartano
- Petäjälammen Herkku
- Sienestä Oy
- Vavesaaren Tila Oy
- Åbyn Leipomo Oy