Organic Finland @ expo west

At BioFach in Germany 2 weeks ago I realised I had visited the show 21 consecutive years and most years exhibiting. Now I am heading to expo west in Anaheim, CA, which is a very different show but nevertheless the nro 1 show for organics in North America. This is only the 3rd time in a row to visit expo west but I’ve been there a couple of times in previous years so probably my 6th visit there.082814_EngredeaQ

I work predominantly with 2 products: the organic potato starch from Finnamyl Ltd and Aloja Starkelsen Ltd /organicpotatostarch.com and organic oats from Fazer Mill&Mixes.

Our organic potato starch has been distributed in North America for a few years now by Ciranda Inc. and we are just now starting with the organic oats after finalising the qualification process to be sure everything goes right when it is launched. You will find Ciranda Inc at expo west – or more precisely at engredea in Hall A, Booth 344. Engredea is the ingredients side show linked to expo west.

Organic potato starch is a remarkable product in terms of natural functionality. With functionality we mean water binding, viscosity forming, moisture barrier, gluing, carrier etc. It has the best functionality among the major native starches and in many applications the only starch that offers functionality. This is because it has the best water binding and viscosity creating capacity but even more because it functions in lower EW15_FaviconLogotemperatures than f.ex. corn or tapioca starch. In many cases it is the only native starch that functions in the temperatures that are relevant in the food process. This becomes very interesting when you need to develop organic products where on the conventional side you would use modified starches or other hydrocolloids. Suddenly you need to understand more about native starches than what is necessary in the mainstream industry. For further flexibility in designing the process we also offer cold-swelling (pre-gel) organic potato starch. We can offer application support in your specific product development cases. On the consumer market we are seeing increasing interest in potato starch as the best source of resistant starch. Come and visit us at Ciranda’s booth to learn more!logo

From a North-American perspective oats comes mostly from the northern parts of the continent, Canada being the main producer. Likewise in Europe oats is mainly produced in Northern Europe and Finland is the biggest producer of organic oats in Europe. With a small population of only 5 million we cannot eat it all, so it has always been also exported. The popularity of oats has been increasing in recent years all over the world – and for a good reason. It is tasty, versatile to use and healthy. Oat betaglucan contributes to lowering blood cholesterol levels, which is a recognised health claim both in USA (FDA) and in the EU (EFSA). Oats is naturally gluten-free although most operators can not guarantee it due to contamination with wheat along the value-chain. However for someone who is not celiac diagnosed but follows a gluten-free diet for well-being, oats is certainly a safe choice. (Fazer oats are not certified gluten-free.) Through Ciranda Inc. we offer oat flakes (rolled oats), steel-cut oats and oat flour to the North American market and we hope to contribute to this growing market.  An other reason to come and visit us at Ciranda’s booth and learn more!

Both the organic potato starch and organic oats enter the North American market based on the EU-USA organic equivalence agreement. For organic potato starch we can offer third countries also NOP certified organic potato starch. If you are NOP certified in a third country this enables you to use our organic potato starch in your NOP certified products.

I will be present through the whole expo west -show, but feel free to contact me for arranging a meeting. Email erkki (at) organic-finland.com

 

Fazer Mill & Mixes and Organic Food Finland join forces

Fazer Mill & Mixes has invested in a new oat mill in Lahti, Finland. The mill has now been in operation since the summer 2013 and is one of the most modern oat mills in the world. Fazer wants to respond to the increasing demand of oats in the world by offering excellent Finnish oats. Fazer Mill & Mixes is already renowned for its high-quality rye and wheat products.

”A lot of untreated oat is exported from Finland, but we at Fazer want to add value to the oats and export ready- made products which require good professional skills” says the Director of Fazer Mill & Mixes Pekka Mäki-Reinikka.

Finland is well known as a producer of the highest quality oats. Finland also has a lot of organic farming with 9% of the arable field area certified organic with a growth of 11% per year (2012). The most popular grain in organic production in Finland is oats because it adapts well to organic farming in Nordic conditions and gives consistent high quality yields. Finland is globally one of the biggest producers of organic oats. Finland’s official target to reach 20% organic field area by 2020 gives confidence that sufficient raw-material will be available.

Fazer is one of the biggest millers of organic grain in Finland. Fazer’s goal is that a significant part of the new oat mill’s production will be certified organic for export markets. With this in mind Fazer has decided to enter into cooperation with Organic Food Finland who has a long experience in export of organic products and knows well the organic grain market and specifically the oats market. Erkki Pöytäniemi at Organic Food Finland will use his wide contact network and market knowledge to develop the export. Fazer Mill & Mixes will be exhibiting at BioFach 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany in February 2014. ”I am excited that we can offer high-quality Finnish organic oat flakes to the growing organic market in Europe and elsewhere. This is a win-win for the Finnish organic farmers, Fazer and the increasing number of demanding customers and consumers around the world.” Erkki Pöytäniemi says.

Additional information:

Mr Pekka Mäki-Reinikka, Director, Fazer Mill & Mixes, tel. +358 400 422 051

Mr Erkki Pöytäniemi, Export, Organic Food Finland, tel. +358 50 5505225

e-mail: erkki@organic-finland.com

 

Please contact us for any further information.

 

www.fazer.fi                                          www.organic-finland.com

 (Photographer: Erkki Poytaniemi)

Oat flakes and other oat products now available from Fazer Mill & Mixes.

Fazer Mill & Mixes has started a brand new Oat Mill with state-of-the-art technology in Finland in September 2013. Fazer’s oat mill represents the very latest production technology which allows us to create a wide range of high quality products. The new oat mill enables us to complement our product range with oat products but also rye and wheat flakes.

Our portfolio is primarily intended for bakeries and the food industry including oat flakes with different technical properties as well as stabilized kernels and steel cut oats. As raw material we use only Finnish oats which is available also in organically-grown. The package sizes are 10 or 20 kg paper bags and big bags (500 – 1000 kg).

 

Our quality portfolio of organic products comprises the following products:

  • O 2000 BIO Organic heat-treated oats
  • O 2000 SC BIO Organic steel cut oats
  • O 2000 P BIO Organic pressed oats
  • O 2000 JF BIO Organic jumbo oat flakes
  • O 2000 TF BIO Organic thick oat flakes
  • O 2000 F BIO Organic oat flakes
  • O 2000 IF BIO Organic instant oat flakes
  • Organic Wholemeal oat flour
  • Organic Oat bran
  • R 1800 P BIO Organic pressed rye
  • R 1800 F BIO Organic rye flake
  • V 1700 F BIO Organic wheat flake

 

Fazer Group

Fazer is an international family-owned company offering bakery, confectionery and biscuit products as well as contract catering, restaurant and café services. Fazer operates in eight countries and exports to more than 40 countries. The company’s success, ever since its establishment in 1891, has been based on the best product and service quality, beloved brands and skillful people. Fazer’s operations comply with ethical principles that are based on the Group’s values and the UN Global Compact.

The company operates in two business areas. Among Fazer Brands’ well-known delicacies are tasty baked goods and confectionery. Fazer Food Services offers good food and tailor-made services in contract catering. Fazer Group’s net sales in 2012 amounted to nearly 1.7 billion euros and the company has over 15,000 employees.

Fazer Mill & Mixes was created in 1971 on Sven Fazer’s initiative to secure the supply of flour of high quality and competitive price for Fazer’s bakeries. First, the mill delivered flour only to Fazer’s own production units, but in 1990 Fazer Mill & Mixes started sales to external customers as well as exports. This provided the mill a strong impetus for growth and since 2008 Fazer Mill & Mixes has been the largest commercial mill in Finland and the second largest one in the Nordic countries, milling wheat and rye flour.

The production of special mixes started in the 1990s and in 2003, the previous major investment was made in a new mixing plant. Fazer Mill & Mixes has grown into the biggest producer of special grain mixes (bakery mixes) in Northern Europe.

Some 15 per cent of the production of Fazer Mill & Mixes is exported. The annual milling quantities of wheat are around 100,000 tons and of rye, slightly over 50,000 tons.

 

 

Please contact us for any further information.

 

 

Other languages:

luomu kaurahiutale, ekologiska havre flingor, flocons d’avoine bio, Økologiske havreflager, økologiske havregryn, Bio-Haferflocken, biologische havervlokken, copos de avena ecológicos, fiocchi di avena biologici, Ekologiczne płatki owsiane, Ekologické ovesné vločky, органические хлопья овсяные, オーガニック認定 オートミール, 有機燕麥片

Organic Oats 2007 crop


Of the organic cereals grown in Finland oats are by far the most important. According to Evira statistics organic oats was grown on 19.583 ha in Finland which is only 300 ha more than in 2006. However the total yield might be double 2006 due to the record low harvest that year. But is this enough? I am afraid not. The dynamism of the market is difficult to grasp and therefore nobody seems to know how much will enter the market. Part of the harvest is fed to animals on-farm or sold to neighbors for that purpose. Part of the crop is harvested on small farms and there is no point in transporting it over any distance. For the organic oats that does enter the market there are several buyers, some trading it to the domestic industry but most looking at the export market. Helsinki Mills is buying directly from farmers trying to capture as much of the oats as possible for processing in Finland. So the farmers situation should be quite good. The prices have increased to levels that have not been experienced before during Finland’s EU membership. Prices are up to 2,5 times higher than in 2005. So there should be an incentive for more farmers to go organic. Also conventional oats (as all cereals) price is increasing but nevertheless the price difference is a healthy 100+ €/t.

Sweden, Germany and Canada seem to have experienced average oat harvests on similar acreage as 2006. The main problem would seem to be that the market is growing strongly but production is not. We need more organic farmers. The interesting question which remains to be seen is how farmers react to this clear market signal. If farmers consider converting to organics they will naturally be wondering what the organic oats price will be in 2010. Who can tell? In the meantime we are unfortunately not able to meet the demand.

Oat crop 2006 was only 50%

TIKE, the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, has for the first time collected data on the use of organic crops in Finland. The data for the 2006 crop of organic cereals (wheat, rye, oats and barley) has now been released. It shows that the production of organic cereals was 47 million kg or 1,2 % of total cereal production in Finland. By far the biggest crop (51 % of organic total) was oats. What is stricking about the statistics is that the average crop was only c 50 % of normal and also that only 51 % of that entered the market as organic. So only 12 million kg of organic oats entered the market which is far less than is normally exported from Finland as bulk – not to speak about domestic consumption and Helsinki Mills’ export of oat flakes. The numbers fully explain the crises we have been in regarding organic oats in Finland.

So far the 2007 crop looks ok: it has been warm and moist. But it is still over 2 months to harvest…

Where are the organic oats?

Oats seems to be a prime example of the organic commodity market with its ups and downs. Finland is the biggest organic oats producer in Europe and also the country with the biggest oversupply. This year however the product just isn’t there. Why? The strong growth of the organic acreage in the 90’s in Finland was largely driven by subsidies. 40% of that acreage is cereals and the most imortant cereal is oats, which is very well adapted to Finnish soil types and the Finnish climate. So Finland had a big surplus of organic oats and became a big exporter. As a consequence farm gate prices were very low until 2005/06. Those prices were not profitable for the farmers so many pulled out: the acreage of organic oats in Finland decreased by 3000 ha. Partly permanently with farmers going back to conventional – partly as a shift within organics. On top of the decreased acreage came last summers extremily warm and dry weather. Yields were 15-20% less than normal, but even more importantly some farms harvested almost no milling quality oats and the proportion of shrinked grain is very high. Flake yield in milling is very low. These factors together result in only c 50% yield of milling quality organic oats compared to normal situation. The situation is of course catastrphic to those companies who are committed to exporting organic oat products. Every stone is turned to find the remaining oats. F.ex. Helsinki Mills has offered animal-farms to change their organic oats into conventional fodder (many organic farms do not market their animal products as organic).

What will happen next? Prices are increasing to extremily high levels and contract prices for the 2007 crop in Finland will be at a substantially higher level than 2006. This should bring some of the lost acreage back but those farmers who have gone back to conventional are probably lost permanently. Certainly their will be an increase in organic oats acreage in Finland, Sweden, Germany and other countries. But also other organic grain prices – even conventional due to biofuel – are increasing so it is not so clear what will happen. In any case the market demand is strong and I believe the farm-gate prices will be ‘permanently’ (what ever that means) higher and farmers are safe to increase their acreages even if it means they need to convert from conventional.

But when the prices start to decrease eventually we should be careful to avoid this happening again. Farm-gate prices must be kept at a sustainable level – otherwise the same cycle will follow again.