Pure Finnish organic food exhibits at BioFach in Nuremberg

31 January 2011

Pure and clean organic food from Finland will be presented at the BioFach organic trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany on 16–19 February 2011. Finnish companies have joined forces with companies from other Nordic countries to exhibit their products at a joint pavilion.

Finland is known for its clean natural environment and ecological know-how. The organic products presented at BioFach are examples of the very best organic production and extensive research and development within the Finnish food industry. In Finland, technological know-how and understanding of ecological processes lay an excellent basis for clean organic food production.

”We believe that the pure Finnish natural environment, strong agricultural tradition and high technological know-how form the best possible basis for clean and safe organic food production for international markets”, says the Finnish representative of BioFach, Mr Arto Varanki from Spokesman Events Oy, who is coordinating the Nordic pavilion and Finnish participation.

”The joint Nordic stand of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway is already a tradition at BioFach, and together the four countries are set to make an impact”, Varanki says.

Organic food production is also one of the top issues concerning the new Finnish national brand. The brand was released after initiation by Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. Finnish companies joining BioFach have been devoted and energetic advocates of organic products for several years, commencing long before the release of the new national brand. Germany and other countries in Western Europe as well as the Far East are important trade partners for Finnish organic food producers.

“This year Finnish companies are focusing on consumer products more than before. We have several products based on pure Finnish raw-materials and speciality grains like rye, oats and buckwheat. We have free-from products and products with proven health benefits – all based on the rich food traditions and nature of Finland. We are eagerly looking forward to presenting them to the organic trade at BioFach”, says Organic Food Finland export manager Mr Erkki Pöytäniemi. Organic Food Finland is an export group including, amongst others, six of the Finnish BioFach exhibitors.

The Finnish exhibitors welcome visitors and journalists to their stands (joint stand 1/1-510, Pramia stand 5/5-122 and Viiniverla stand 4A/4A-420c).

For further information, please contact:
Mr Arto Varanki, Spokesman Events Oy, +358 40 544 5598, arto.varanki@spokesman.

Finnish Exhibitors at BioFach 2011:

Bioferme Ltd, Tuula von Zweygbergk, +358 500 505 600, www.bioferme.fi
organic probiotic oat based snacks

Finnish Cheese Company, Esa Luomanperä, +358 400 426 187, www.silva.fi
Silva organic process cheese, ILO organic hummus and freshly peeled organic garlic cloves

Helsinki Mills Ltd, Lhassan El Farkoussi, +358 50 462 4432, www.helsinkimills.fi
organic flour and flakes

Keskisen Mylly Ky, Markku Vitikainen, +358 3 471 6532, www.keskisenmylly.fi
organic buckwheat pasta and other buckwheat products

Linkosuo Bakery Ltd, Leena Järvenpää, +358 20 770 2400, www.linkosuo.fi
small crispy rye snacks and Varrasleipä crispy bread

Nordic Koivu Oy, Susanna Maaranen, + 358 40 523 7348, www.nordickoivu.com
Nordic birch sap

Pramia Oy, Minja Kivinen, +358 40 594 7770, www.pramia.fi
organic alcoholic beverages
stand 5/5-122

Senson Oy, Pasi Heikkilä, +358 500 352 868, www.senson.fi
organic malt extracts

Viiniverla Oy, Juha Kuronen, +358 40 530 9224, www.viiniverla.fi
organic berry wines
stand 4A/4A-420c

Virgino, Perttu Korolainen, + 358 400 770 654, www.virgino.fi
organic cold pressed rape seed oil



My Opening Speech at the Nordic Joint Stand area at BioFach 2010

Hyvät kuulijat…

The Danish opening speaker Evald Vestergaard spoke Danish and Mona Hedenskog spoke Swedish so I of course started my speech in Finnish. I could see the Finnish listeners laughing and the others also laughing in confusion. Well, I did switch to English after the first few sentences…
Ladies and Gentlemen
Back in 1997 the Nordic countries was region of the year at BioFach. After that we have drifted apart even though there has been discussions about a Nordic joint stand almost every year. Not until 2009 did Finland and Sweden join forces with a joint stand area in Hall 3. Now in 2010 all four Nordic countries are together under “Nordic Organics”. I think there are many good reasons to do so. We have a common culture, values and history… Some might add language to the list but as we noticed in the beginning of my speech, there might be some problems there. Finnish is a totally different language. But some theories say that 2000 years ago the population in all Nordic countries spoke Finnish, before the germanic languages came from the south – so actually there was a common language.
To continue the list: the pure nature and harsh climate are an important part of the Nordic climate. Of course in more northern parts of Norden – like Finland – this is more true than in the more southernly parts. Farming systems are similar and the food culture. And the high percentage of organic farming in all Nordic countries not to mention the well developed organic market especially in Denmark and Sweden. Looking from other parts of the world Nordic countries have a strong positive image that we should use to our advantage.
The Nordic stand area also gives us opportunities to know each other better, strengthen the Nordic network and to do more business together.
The Nordic Restaurant and Tapas bar is this years great achievement and we expect a lot of it. We are very pleased with the cooperation with the Danish Food Council and the funding from the Nordic Council. Especially pleased I am about the funding we received from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which was arranged with astonishing flexibility and speed and enabled us to have also Finland’s ambassador chef Kim Palhus here with us presenting New Nordic Food (Ny Nordick Mat) with a Finnish kick.
Have a great Nordic BioFach 2010!

Organic Finnish food served at BioFach 17.–20.2.2010

Press Release 12.2.2010
Organic Finnish food served at BioFach 17.–20.2.2010
BioFach in Nuremberg, Germany, is the world’s leading exhibition for organic products. Finnish companies have joined forces with other Nordic countries to exhibit their products at a joint pavilion. The “Nordic Organics” area will also include an organic kitchen and restaurant hosted by the Finnish Ambassador Chef Kim Palhus.
“We will serve the best examples of Finnish organic food in the Nordic restaurant”, says Mr Kim Palhus, Ambassador Chef of Finland and the Chef of the Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre. “Everything will be prepared with pure Nordic ingredients. Despite the cold winter season, our Finnish kitchen boasts clean and savoury ingredients like root vegetables as well as grain and berry products and many other organic products of the Finnish BioFach-exhibitors. I’m happy to help promote the New Nordic Kitchen as well as the export and marketing efforts of Finnish organic food producers.”
Finnish organic food is among the best of the world
“All the Finnish companies joining the Nordic pavilion at BioFach are devoted and energetic advocates of organic products focussing on the development of their products and their activities. They are small and middle-sized companies who formed an export group”, says the CEO and Export Director of Organic Food Finland, Mr Erkki Pöytäniemi.
Organic Food Finland is an export group managing the overseas selling of organic goods from nine participating companies. Their trade volume to Nordic countries, Western Europe and the Far East amounts to nearly four million Euros.
The yearly export of Finnish organic goods totals some 14 million Euros. Grain is the most important product. About 6.5 per cent of the Finnish field area is currently certified as organic with the proportion being on the rise. Finland is among the three biggest producers of organic oats in Europe. The yield of organic oats and wheat is higher than needed for national consumption. The Finnish export of organic oats is among the highest in the world with prices being very competitive. Organic oats is exported increasingly in the form of flakes.
Come and see the unforgettable Nordic pavilion
For the first time at Biofach the Nordic expertise in organic production is presented on this scale. “The Nordic cooperation started last year with Finland and Sweden having a common stand. After long negotiations we also got Denmark and Norway to join us. Denmark is one of the most important organic producers in Europe and together all the four countries are set to make an impact”, says the Finnish representative of BioFach, Mr Arto Varanki from Spokesman Events Oy, who coordinates the Nordic pavilion and the Finnish participation.
“The Nordic pavilion is an excellent approach for Finnish companies to present themselves to international markets and to network with visitors and other exhibitors. For BioFach visitors the Nordic pavilion is a unique concept well worth visiting, particularly with its magnificent kitchen and restaurant offering top quality organic goods”, Varanki points out.
BioFach is now in its 2ist year. Last year it brought together 2,733 exhibitors and 46,771 trade visitors from 119 countries.
The Finnish exhibitors welcome journalists to their stands (joint stand 1-410 and Viiniverla stand 4A-415) as well as to the Nordic kitchen and restaurant (stand 1-604).
For further information please contact:
Mr Erkki Pöytäniemi, Organic Food Finland, +358 50 550 5225, erkki@organic-finland.com
Mr Arto Varanki, Spokesman Events Oy, +358 40 544 5598, arto.varanki@spokesman.fi
Kim Palhus, Hanasaari, +358 40 484 8123, kim.palhus@hanaholmen.fi
The Finnish Exhibitors at BioFach 2010:
E. Boström Ltd, Annika Boström, +358 40 5462888, www.bostrom.fi
– organic muffins
Greenfinn’s Ltd, Kari Saari, +358 6 861 2540, www.greenfinns.com
– organic 100 % juices from Nordic berries
Helsinki Mills Ltd, Ulla Heiskanen, + 358 9 2716 9225, www.helsinginmylly.fi
– organic flour and flakes
Keskisen Mylly Ltd, Markku Vitikainen, +358 3 471 6532, www.keskisenmylly.fi
– organic buckwheat pasta and other buckwheat products
Kiantama Ltd, Annikki Kyllönen, +358 201 442 251, www.kiantama.fi
– organic Nordic berries
Napapiiri Organics, Marja Nuora, +358 50 586 2697, www.napapiiri-organics.com
– organic jams
Nordic Koivu Ltd, Susanna Maaranen, + 358 40 523 7348, www.nordickoivu.com
– organic Nordic birch sap for consumers and industry
Viiniverla Ltd, Juha Kuronen, +358 40 530 9224, www.viiniverla.fi
– organic berry wines
– stand nr 415 is situated in hall 4A
Virgino Ltd, Perttu Korolainen, +358 750 0300 100, www.virgino.fi
– organic cold pressed rape seed oil

BIOFACH again!

Again one organic year has passed and BioFach is approaching fast. For anybody working in international organic business a year is not the calendar year, it is counted from BioFach to BioFach on week 7 in February. So I presume many of you reading this blog are also heading to BioFach and I hope to meet you there!

This year Organic Food Finland is back in Hall 1 (stand 410) and the Nordic cooperation has been expanded. You will find us under the “Nordic Organics” banner together with Denmark and Sweden. The Nordic countries do have some things in common so cooperation is natural. Organic Food Finland will be in one block and 10 companies are exhibiting – or actually everyone in the group. Feel free to contact myself or Lhassan for arranging a meeting there (email: info@organic-finland.com). Or you can just pop in to see what is new from Organic Finland.

An exciting part of the Nordic cooperation is the Nordic Kitchen and Restaurant we will have on the Nordic Organics stand area. The restaurant will focus on showcasing the New Nordic Cuisine (Ny Nordisk Mat) and of course the products of the Nordic exhibitors. At lunch time there will be lunch served so this is an excellent place in the middle of a busy day when you get hungry. Apart from the staff chefs who are preparing delicious Nordic food, Finland’s Ambassador Chef Kim Palhus will be present and showcase New Nordic Cuisine “version Finland” – of course using raw-materials from our exhibitors as much as possible. So be sure to be there on Wednesday or Thursday for a treat!

Satisfied with BioFach

BioFach 2009 is over and most of us are already back home. Now starts the hard work of transforming all the nice meetings and discussions into business. Well – not all, but at least some. In advance myself – and I am sure many others – were wondering how the economic downturn would effect the outcome. Will there be as many people visiting as last year? Probably there would not be any growth. During the show the commonest sentiment seemed to be – and I shared it – that there were slightly less visitors than last year but the quality of contact was good. Thursday and Friday were so busy that I was totally stuck on the stand. To me it seemed that there was less people from Asia and probably also from North America. The information given by BioFach pretty much confirms this. According to their press release the number of visitors was roughly 46.000 so pretty much the same as 2008. So I think we can be happy with that.

Finland was represented this year by 12 companies of which 7 in the Organic Food Finland Export Group. 11 companies were on the joint stand while one was separately in Hall 1. We were for the first time in Hall 3 after being for years in Hall 1. Probably it was more quite there but I suppose most people who wanted to find us, did. However we might consider going back to Hall 1.  Also for the first time we cooperated with Sweden which was positive. As long as the cooperation can be kept uncomplicated and straight-forward it is worth it. Spokesman, the Finnish representative of Nuerenberg Messe, did a great job in running the whole thing together. Maybe next year we will have also Norway with us and look for cooperation with Denmark – the country of the year in 2009. Denmark’s stand area was huge this year but will certainly be smaller (still big) in 2010.

Four of the OFF companies were also presenting products under the Napapiiri Organics brand. The preserves from Maustaja were already presented last year but the juices from Greenfinn’s, the Porridge from Helsinki Mills and the “Rote Grütze” from Finnamyl were presented for the first time as ready products that can actually be ordered.

One of the first-timers on the Finnish stand was ViiniVerla, the one and only organic winery in Finland. The fantastic products – wines, sparklings, liquors are made of Finnish berries. “Verlados” is a Calvados type spirit made of apple. The products received extremily positive feedback. I am sure ViiniVerla’s next problem will be meeting demand.

The Stand Party on Friday evening was a nice success. Sweden supplied the music – former Abba guitarist Janne Scaffer, and Finland offered Viiniverla’s sparklings and there was snack to eat from both sides. Some even danced. A real success!

The BioFach 2009 was good – and we can better it in 2010.

BioFach next week: Organic North

Well everyone in the organic movement / industry knows BioFach. But I believe there must be a lot pf people who visit BioFach who don’t really know the history. I made a presentation to the group of Finnish companies exhibiting at BioFach this year some weeks back. I wanted to give them some background information: when and where was BF started. It was surprisingly difficult to find that information anywhere. You don’t find it at www.biofach.de. It took quite a lot of effort on google to find anything but finally I did find an article from the German EVE magazine – actually the number published for this BioFach. It hadn’t reached me in print yet. BioFach becomes 20 years this year! It started in 1990 in Mannheim. It moved to Wiesbaden, to Frankfurt and in 1999 to Nürnberg. In 2001 Nürnberg Messe acquired BioFach.

I visited BioFach for the first time in 1995 in Frankfurt. We were the first from Finland to exhibit in 1996.I organized the Finnish pavillion in 1997 when the Nordic countries where the Region of the Year. Since 1996 I have exhibited almost every year. Since 2004 I have exhibited with Organic Food Finland, the export group for organic products from Finland. This year there will be 7 companies from OFF and 4 others companies exhibiting from Finland – the biggest number since 1997.

This is also the first year since 1997 that we are back to some kind of Nordic cooperation – if only between Finland and Sweden. Denmark – where the organic export business is by far bigger – is Country of Year with a huge 1000 m2 stand area in Hall 1. Finland and Sweden – under the “Organic North” banner will have 300 m2 together in Hall 3. Good start and I hope we will benefit from each other.

As you can see “Organic North” has been designed as one block in two parts. We hope to benefit from each others pre-marketing and communication and we are arranging the Friday Night Party together. Welcome! The Swedes have made a lot of noise about Janne Schaffer – the former ABBA guitarist – who will play live on Friday Night. ABBA is obviously important! Snack will be provided from both sides and as the Finnish speciality of 2009 we are providing the drinks: organic sparkling wines from ViiniVerla, the only organic berry winery in Finland. Come and have a taste! I think ViiniVerla will need to find only 1-2 customers in Europe and the business is pretty much done. And you’ll be surprised by the taste and quality. They do have liqueurs and spirits as well!

The other first time ever is the fact that the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mrs Anttila will visit BioFach. Until now we have done BioFach pretty much alone – or let’s say business driven – without the kind of political support f.ex the Danish and Swedish organic industry is getting. No speeches and press conferences etc with lots of people in black suits. I’m not sure how much it helps the business anyway but I certainly do believe that it will have a profound impact on the understanding of the organic industry on the side of the Finnish Minister. Only once a higher-ranking official from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture has visited BioFach – and that was in 1997! I think they don’t have a clue of how big the business is. And why have they never come? I am afraid the main reason might be pretty “funny”. Week 8 is the winter holiday week in South Finland. You go with your family to Lapland, to the Alps or whatever but you don’t go to an exhibition in the middle of Germany. Guess who hasn’t had a proper winter holiday with his kids since 1995?

Well – see you all at BioFach next week and let’s hope the economic downturn isn’t affecting the number of visitors too badly. See you!

Organic North presents Nordic organic production at the BioFach Fair



Organic North presents Nordic organic production at the BioFach Fair

Finland and Sweden have joined forces under the theme Organic North at the BioFach World Organic Trade Fair. BioFach will be held on 19-22 February 2009 in Nuremberg, Germany. Organic North presents contemporary Nordic organic production and services. The Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mrs. Sirkka-Liisa Anttila will attend the exhibition on 19-20 February 2009 and will open the Finnish joint stand on 19 February at 11.45 a.m.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to promote Finnish organic production at the BioFach Fair. Finnish organic products are reliable, ethically produced and fully traceable items which are safe to consume. Essential for the future of organic products is the efficiency of the food chain as well as the common goals of sector actors,” says Minister Anttila.

”We need professional and innovative people to produce and develop new products and services in order to constantly improve the renowned quality of the Nordic organic sector. I’m convinced that organic production will be one of the future success stories of the Finnish food industry,” says Anttila.

Organic Action Plan under preparation

An Organic Action Plan is under preparation in Finland and the work has been funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The action plan reflects the rapidly growing importance of organic production and the high public demand for organic products.

Of Finnish farming land, 6.5% is certified organic and 7 million hectares of forest land are certified for the harvesting of organic wild products (mainly berries). The most important sectors are cereals, including rapeseed, together with dairy, meat and bakery products. Wild berries are also increasingly important. Most exports are from the cereal value chain, most notably oats. Finland is renowned for producing the best quality oats in the world. Additionally, potato products and berry-based products are also exported.

Nordic organic production is of high quality

”Our main task has been to increase general knowledge of Nordic organic production and products in Europe. BioFach has grown into an event of huge proportions, and small exhibitors have to use every available means to get the most out of the event. That’s why Nordic cooperation and the benefits it will generate are a natural way to increase the visibility of a single participating company,” says Erkki Pöytäniemi of Organic Food Finland.

Organic Food Finland, implemented in cooperation with Finpro, is an export group specialising in organic products.

Organic North Project Director Arto Varanki from Spokesman Oy is also a strong supporter of Nordic cooperation: “Cooperation with Sweden is a very important step and we are planning and implementing communication measures to attract the maximum amount of visitors to our pavilions. Hopefully this will also encourage the other Nordic countries to join,” says Varanki.

BioFach is the world’s largest organic fair. It is held annually, each February, in the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre in Germany. BioFach has sister events in Japan, China, India, Brazil and the United States. In 2009 BioFach will also feature natural cosmetics, skin care and wellness products, which will be assembled in their own event under the name Vivaness. Besides its traditional offerings, the exhibition will also offer over 100 organic sector events and seminars.

The Friday Night Party will be held on 20 February from 6–8 p.m. at the stand, featuring former ABBA guitarist Janne Schaffer and an assortment of Finnish and Swedish organic delicacies. The Organic North pavilions are situated in Hall 3. The stand numbers are 300 and 400. You are most welcome join us at the party.

For further information, please contact:

Arto Varanki, Spokesman Oy, Tel. +358 40 544 55098, 
– The Nuremberg Fair’s official representative in Finland

Erkki Pöytäniemi, Organic Food Finland, Tel. +358 50 550 5225, 
– Head of the Organic Food Finland export group


Natural Products London

So Natural Products was two weeks ago in London. After the show it has been so busy that I have found no time to come back to the blog. As the pictures shows, also the show was busy and we had a lot of interesting discussions with clients. The most tangible result was that the Napapiiri Organics range of berry preserves will be available at Community Foods’ Cash&Carry; starting from the next price list in May. So it means there is a lot of work ahead to ensure they find their way to the shop shelves. At least reactions to tastings at NPE were very positive with the Sea Buckthorn preserve probably the best liked type. But there is a lot of communication to be done. What is cloudberry or sea buckthorn? How do you use the preserves? What are the benefits? All the berries in the Napapiiri range are arctic superberries that grow wild in Finland. All of them have great health benefits but people are of course not aware of them. For example wild bilberry from Finland contains 8 times more antocyanins and flavonoids than North American blueberry. This is the berry the Japanese pharmaceutical industry is buying for preparing eye-sight enhancing supplements. The Americans are making all the health claims but we have the real product! Also lingonberry – called also mountain cranberry – has much higher content of health benefitting substancies than North American cultivated cranberry. But all this needs to be communicated. A good source of information is the web site of Arctic Flavors.

An other new product we were presentig at NPE was Nordic Rape Seed Oil from Virgino. Virgino is a very high quality cold pressed oil that can be used for salad dressings as well as frying. The quality is now even better than it was earlier because Virgino has recently moved into new facilities and has new machinery for pressing the oil. What is special about the Virgino rape seed oil is that it is produced from turnip summer rape seed (Brassica rapa ssp oleifera) while most rape seed cultivars are Brassica napus cultivars. The English language makes no difference between the two species but let us call ours Nordic Rape Seed as it is hardly cultivated outside Finland anymore. The fatty acid composition of Nordic Rape Seed Oil is more favorable than in normal rape seed oil and by far more favorable than other major oils like olive oil or sunflower oil. It contains only 5% saturated fatty acids (the bad ones) and has Omega 3 and Omega 6 is perfect balance. But here again we have quite a task in communicating and differentiating. The goods news is that everyone at NPE who had the opportunity to taste Virgino was impressed. It should also be mentioned that all Finnish rape seed cultivars are 00-erusic acid cultivars (0% erisic acid) and GMO-free.