The use of domestic food in public kitchens in Finland increased, the share of local food has been steady

The efforts to promote the use of local food in Finland have been diverse: various targets have been set, local food has been integrated into strategies, information has been shared and guides have been published. These are examples of efforts implemented already for a long time. They also indicate that local food has been a popular discussion topic in recent years, also concerning the public-sector professional kitchens. However, have these discussions and efforts turned into actions?

The change in the use of local foods in public kitchens and its regional economic effectsis a project aiming to study on the provincial level (NUTS3) the current share of local food that the public kitchens are using. A similar study was carried out in 2013–2014, and these two studies were compared. In addition, the regional economic effects of changes in the use of local foods in public kitchens were assessed in a few illustrative provinces. The comparison between regions enables to find the regions where the promotion efforts have been the most effective. In this study, local food is defined to comprise the food that has been produced in the same province where the public kitchen is located.

The study was based on an electronic survey conducted in autumn 2019. The survey, which collected 86 responses, was targeted to public joint procurement groups and procuring entities in every Finnish province. The regional economic impact assessments were done by using RegFin model that considers the direct, indirect and caused effects as well as the leaks and flows between regions.

The survey results show that there are considerable regional differences in the use of local food. The share of local food is highest (47%) in Satakunta province whereas the lowest share (1%) is found in Uusimaa province. According to the 2013 study1, the regional variance was from a few percent to 28%. The comparison between these studies indicates that the regional variance has been growing. The regional differences in the use of domestic food are not as large, varying between 70% and 95%. The regional economic impact assessments show that at most the change in the use of local food has increased regional employment with dozens of person-years. The calculations revealed also opposite effects.

At the national level, the current share of local food that the public kitchens are using is 16%. Hence, the share has not changed much since 2013 when the share was 15%. The share of domestic food has increased more, from 78% in 2013 to 83% in 2019.

The repot (in Finnish):
Viitaharju Leena, Kujala Susanna, Hakala Outi ja Trogen Ada.  (2020). Lähiruoka puheissa ja teoissa – Julkiskeittiöiden lähiruoan käytön muutos vuosien 2013 ja 2019 välillä. Helsingin yliopisto Ruralia-instituutti. Raportteja 201.

More information:
Project Manager Leena Viitaharju
University of Helsinki, Ruralia, + 358 50 4151164

Doctoral Student Susanna Kujala
University of Helsinki, Ruralia, +358 50 4151158

Senior Specialist Kirsi Viljanen
Ministry of Agriculture and, +358 295 162142