Kesko: Confectionery culture is awakening in Finnish grocery stores

Kesko / FI. (kkc) Confectionery culture is awakening in Finnish grocery stores – cheesecakes, macarons and even sandwich cakes are becoming increasingly popular. More and more consumers are interested in visually striking products. Sales of confectionery products have grown by 18 percent over the past year. These products have been performing well for a long time.

«The growth started before the interest rate, and over the last year the growth has accelerated somewhat. Even the interest rate restrictions have not affected sales of cakes sold as party favours. We found that there is now demand even for artisan-style cakes and breads,» says Harri Hovi, Director of the grocery trade in the grocery division of Finland’s Kesko Corporation.

Finnish shopping habits have changed. Traditional seasons, such as Mother’s Day, still sell very traditional products, but at the same time consumers have become enthusiastic about more international products and novelties such as macarons and various cheesecakes. Sandwich cakes are back in fashion. There is also a new interest in smaller packaging sizes and attractive pastries, as well as small cakes that are also suitable for households of one or two people.

Toni Rantala, owner of the innovative artisan bakery pH7 confirms the phenomenon. «In March last year, when orders for restaurants fell, I contacted K-stores in the surrounding area in Vantaa, Järvenpää and Klaukkala. We discovered that not many shops had a wide selection of pastry products. Now, a year later, we have agreed to expand our cooperation with the K-Group, and in Ruoholahti and Järvenpää we are currently piloting shop-in-shop confectionery bakeries with K-Citymarkets. Finns are not yet used to ordering cakes from grocery stores, but I believe this will change,» says Rantala.

According to Tero Huhtala, K-Citymarket Ruoholahti’s shopkeeper, Finns want to buy more than just buns, and are now interested in both savoury and sweet pastries and small snacks. pH7’s fresh macarons are the clear number one product in Ruoholahti’s wide range of shop-in-shop pastries.

«pH7’s products are of very high quality, and the wide selection includes not only macarons but also many customer favourites: salads are very popular, and Karelian pies are popular. In addition, people buy pastries, ten-piece cakes, shrimp puffs and ice creams. It’s easy to make a good impression from a wide range of products, and the way we have worked together has been exceptional – the flexibility and enthusiasm for developing products suits us perfectly. Customers love the products and the unexpectedness of them,» says Huhtala.

K-food stores have the widest selection of local products in Finland: a total of around 50’000 to 60’000 local products. Local products are a key way for retailers to tailor their selection to meet local demand. K-retailers actively seek out new products from local and small producers that are of interest to customers. Each year, around 50 small producers are helped to enter the national selections.

«In my shop, we are constantly looking for interesting small suppliers. Last spring, we particularly needed higher quality options for our cake range, which customers have been asking for. I was tipped off by colleagues about pH7 products. The cooperation has gone very well, the products have pleased our customers and the bakery has been flexible to meet our needs even when demand has been strong,» says Jouni Monto, retailer at K-Supermarket Ylivedo.

«The Tuusula-based artisan bakery pH7 is an excellent example of the kind of renewal needed in the food trade. The core of the retailer business is perfectly realised in this cooperation, as it was the retailers’ tip that introduced us to Kesko’s products, and I am proud that our cooperation is deepening and that more and more K-food stores are stocking the products,» Hovi continues.

All pH7 products are handmade, mostly without additives and made from domestic ingredients. A wide range of pH7 products is available in K-food stores: in addition to artisan breads and pastries, artisan ice cream, chocolate and liquorice balls are also available. The range may vary from shop to shop, so if you can’t find a favourite product in your own shop, you should try to get it in.

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