Wild berries, Arctic delight for Health conscious consumers

1 Dec 2015

Finns have a luxury of living amidst healthy and pure super foods- wild berries- found basically everywhere -even in the proximity of the biggest cities. The Finnish food industry is investing in R&D and produces unique ways to use these natural ingredients.

In addition to being a national health asset, wild berries are an important export crop for Finland. The annual crop of forest berries in Finland has been estimated at more than 500 million kilos. Approximately 50 different species can be found in all kinds of environments, from rocky seashores to swamps and forests. Of all the different species of forest berries in Finland, roughly 20 are edible. Lingonberry, bilberry, cloudberry and crowberry have the largest crops, but sea buckthorn, arctic brambles, bog bilberries and rowanberries are also used in special products.
"During the growing season, berries receive a great deal of light, and as a result, they grow very fast, whilst the sun enhances the taste of the berries" says Simo Moisio, director of Arctic Flavours, a berry association in north east Finland. The pure water used during berry cultivation makes the soft fruit very clean; while the cold winters kill off bugs, so less pesticides are used in Finnish berry cultivation, compared with southern European countries where the winters are mild.

Wild berries, Arctic delight for Health conscious consumers

Arguably Finland's most important berry export is the bilberry. Densely packed with nutrients, the humble bilberry - which carpets the forest floor during July and August - is attracting a great deal of admirers in Asia in particular. Simo Moisio describes it as Finland's most famous super fruit. "It has three to four times more anthocyanine polyphenols than cultivated blueberries" he says. The berry is also packed with vitamins C and E, as well as a source of dietary fiber.
A whole industry has grown up around the health properties of local berries. "There are over a hundred small firms making berry products" says Simo. "They make berry powders, dried berries, smoothies, shots, cold pressed juices, liquors like crowberry and Arctic bramble, extracts and snacks. Many of the exotic products made from forest berries are also possible to export".
Finland's small batch producers are enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment, with renewed interest at home and abroad in high quality specialist food and drinks also based on berries. Producers are finding unique new ways to use natural Finnish ingredients. Kaskein Marja’s www.kaskein.fi Managing Director Pekka Koivisto is an example. Their company’s future, producing e.g. freeze dried and exceptionally fine berry powders, seems very positive as the global demand is growing. Health-conscious consumers in South Korea can't get enough of Finnish bilberries, where they are considered to be natural, fresh and clean - with bilberry juice and bilberry powder being the most popular items.
The processing of the traditional ingredients in Finland is modern and world class. Kiantama Ltd www.kiantama.fi is a perfect example, being a leading manufacturer of ingredients made of berries. Berry powders (100% and spray dried), dried berries, concentrates, syrups, purees are all very high quality and mostly made of Nordic wild berries which have more health benefits than those that are cultivated. We pay special attention to controlling the production chain that is transparent from the forests to the packing. We also follow the ISO 26 000 Social Responsibility standard, which has been audited by a third party. Sophisticated production methods and precise quality control ensure that the quality of our handpicked wild berries is appreciated when arriving in our customers’ hands, says Vernu Vasunta, CEO of Kiantama.
Naturally Delicious Food from Finland is presented at the Food Ingredients Europe Paris 1.-3.12.2015 at Hall 7 Stand G12. Welcome!
The Food from Finland national pavilion features food ingredients from the following companies:

Kiantama Ltd www.kiantama.fi
Kaskein Marja Ltd www.kaskein.fi
Senson Ltd www.senson.fi
Raisio Group www.raisio.com
Fazer Mill & Mixes Ltd www.fazermills.com
PolarGlucan Ltd www.polarglucan.com
Helsinki Mills Ltd www.helsinki-mills.com
Altia Corporation www.altiacorporation.com
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd www.vtt.fi

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Food from Finland is an export program presenting the Finnish food and drink industry and its high quality and naturally delicious products. The program is managed by a public, state funded organization Finpro and executed together with the Finnish Food and Drink Industries' Federation (ETL) and most importantly, private companies in the Finnish food sector.

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