The food chain has a significant role in Southwest Finland’s regional economy. Over 20% of the region’s places of business are part of the food chain. It is not an exaggeration to say that Southwest Finland is Finland’s granary. The region is a forerunner in sustainability in food production, and cultivates especially wheat, plant proteins, and vegetables. In the development of food chains, the top sectors of Southwest Finland are the food products and the food product know-how in blue and green bioeconomy; regional and diversified co-creation of food products and experiences, along with making use of digitalisation and technology in development of a sustainable food system.
The blue bioeconomy covers not only aquaculture and fisheries, but also the resource efficient food produced with a closed loop system. The green bioeconomy includes the raw material for the food system, harvested from the fields and the forest in the region, and also the products manufactured from them. A large proportion of Finland’s bread cereals, oil plants, protein crops, and early potatoes are farmed in Southwest Finland. Also, most of the eggs in Finland and ¼ of pork is produced in the region. A significant portion of Finnish fishermen operate at sea and in inland waters of Southwest Finland, and a third of fisheries production comes from the region. The raw material produced in Southwest Finland, such as oat, Baltic herring, mushrooms, game, and plant-based protein sources like quinoa, peas, hemp, and broad beans create a chance for the people to take the sustainable development into account at their dinner tables.
In Southwest Finland, there is strong expertise and education for the different phases of the food chain, such as primary production, product development, processing, utilisation, marketing, circular economy, food education and understanding of climate impact, social effects, and consumer habits. The operators of different sectors already have experience on cooperation, but this approach should be strengthened and deepened. Understanding the customers’ needs and food choices affect both the sustainable food system and well-being.
An important forum for cooperation in foodstuffs is the multidisciplinary research platform Flavoria®, which focuses on producing new scientific knowledge and consumer understanding for the sustainable development of both society and businesses.
The focus of the regional working group is on blue and green bioeconomy, multidisciplinary co-creation, and digital solutions. Its task is to increase dialogue between sectors, find possibilities for joint projects and increase international cooperation by identifying possible value chains. The group is currently also active in the ERIAFF network.
For more information, please contact the working group chair:
Development Manager Mari Norrdal, Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, email@example.com and +358 40 550 2471.