Bananas are still a staple, but thanks to S Group's concept of promoting seasonal produce, plenty of other fruit and vegetables also find their way to the shopping carts of Finnish consumers.
The best produce of the season were first highlighted in Prisma stores and S-Markets as a joint effort of the ‘Satokausikalenteri' (‘Seasonal produce calendar') service and S Group in autumn 2015. The concept aims at increasing the consumption of vegetables and promote the use of seasonal produce.
"The goal of highlighting the seasonal produce of the month is to make it easy to pick fruit and vegetables of the season. During 2016, we placed more than 90 different vegetables in the best spots at Prisma stores and S-Markets," Antti Oksa, Vice President, Fresh Foods at S Group, says.
In S Group's customer panel, 38 per cent of respondents said they had increased their consumption of vegetables, and 37 per cent also said the highlighted presentation of produce had motivated them to use the vegetables in a more versatile manner. The trend in trying out new vegetables was also reflected in the demand for seasonal produce. During their specific season, Finnish watermelon, summer cabbage and striped beetroot as well as apricot and papaya increased their popularity most.
S Group's grocery stores sold nearly 277 million kilograms of fruit and vegetables last year. This is almost 8 million kilograms more than in 2015. The most purchased items were potatoes, bananas, citrus fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuces, apples and carrots.
In addition to vegetables and fruit, various plant-based products, such as veggie balls and patties, plant protein products and plant-based cheese substitutes and drinks gained popularity. The sales of the Härkis broad bean product and Pulled Oats, the plant protein products available on the processed meats shelf, increased nearly seven-fold, and the demand for veggie balls tripled from 2015.
"Growth figures like these are rare in this product category. Since there are no signs of this trend ending anytime soon, it looks like Finnish consumers are embracing plant protein products as part of their diet," Antti Oksa says.
Photo: Yhteishyvä / Sami Repo