Uruguayan citrus fruits in the Finnish market

Uruguayan citrus arrived in Finland and showed its potential to compete in this market as an off-season fruit.
Publication date: 11/05/2020

Uruguayan citrus arrived in Finland and showed its potential to compete in this market as an off-season fruit. The Finnish Customs Service monitors the condition of fresh fruit and vegetables imported from outside the EU by means of document checks and plant health checks.

Finnish consumer

The annual per capita consumption of citrus fruits was 14.45 kg in 2019. Finnish consumers have a strong interest in increasing the variety of products they consume. This includes fruits, in particular tropical or exotic ones. 

In Finland, consumers are mostly "price-conscious" when it comes to food, and especially when buying fruit. However, Finnish society is also concerned with the quality, origin, and environmental aspects of production. That is why interest in organic food has grown.

There is also interest in functional foods (nutritional and health-promoting aspects) for which consumers are willing to pay higher prices.

For that reason, hybrid consumption (high quality of the product with a higher degree of social and emotional satisfaction) prevails over price. This applies to products already incorporated into the basic basket such as citrus fruits.

Finland's imports of citrus fruits

In recent years Finland has imported citrus fruit according to the following detail based on Eurostat statistics. Values are expressed in thousands of dollars. 

NCM Product description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
080510 Fresh or dried oranges 21.535 25.335 24.163 31.683 30.820
080522 Clementine 0 0 23.828 25.417 27.337
080550 Lemons "Citrus limonum" and limes
"Citrus aurantifolia, Citrus latifobia", fresh...
9.378 12.885 12.292 14.038 12.263
080521 Mandarins (including tangerines and satsumas) 0 0 17.534 18.711 12.179
080529 Wilkings and similar citrus hybrids, fresh or dried 0 0 1.185 1.972 3.520
080540 Grapefruit, fresh or dried 2.274 2.783 3.264 2.941 2.730
080590 Citrus fruits, fresh or dried (ex. oranges,
lemons "Citrus limonum", ...
141 221 1.850 38 48
080520 Mandarins, incl. tangerines and satsumas;
clementines, wilkings and similar citrus hybrids 
40.339 45.078 0 0 0

It should be noted that 35% of this total corresponds to fresh oranges and 31% to clementines. Lemons and tangerines account for 14% each.

By 2019, the top 10 countries supplying the local citrus market in terms of value are:

Exporters Imported value
Imported value
Imported value
Imported value
Imported value
Worldwide 73.668 86.302 84.116 94.800 88.897
Spain 32.027 38.788 36.195 40.119 44.107
Netherlands 13.036 15.482 15.835 19.125 17.883
Germany 8.935 9.572 10.350 13.035 12.135
Egypt 5.729 6.642 5.334 6.446 3.172
South Africa 2.436 2.143 2.812 2.111 2.953
Italy 259 765 1.286 2.378 2.587
Morocco 1.240 1.450 1.941 2.925 2.294
Israel 6.885 7.238 5.581 6.319 1.823
Denmark 262 252 275 702 653
Argentina 461 493 382 273 314

Distribution channels 

The general food retail market in Finland is highly concentrated. Almost all fresh fruit and vegetables are sold through supermarkets, hypermarkets, and other shops belonging to one of the few retail chain groups.

The 2 largest retail chains in Finland are the K Group and the S Group, with a market share of almost 80%. In 2016, the share of S Group was 47.2% and that of K Group was 36.2%. Lidl took 3rd place with 8.8%.

It is also vertically integrated with supply companies (wholesalers) and distribution companies (such as Kespro, Inex Partners, and Tuko Logistics). This allows maintaining an efficient delivery system and a national network of supermarkets and other stores in a country that has a very low population density, especially in the north.

Additionally, in many cases, the fruit supply is centralized at the European level. The Finnish Kesko food is a member of Associated Marketing Services (AMS), a strategic purchasing alliance based in the Netherlands.

The also Finnish Sgroup has its own distribution channels and some purchasing decisions are made in such purchasing alliances. Purchasing is often centralized nationally for large volumes of (core) products directly from the countries of origin. The Trading A/S Cooperative (Nordic association for international purchasing) has a headquarters in Valencia, Spain from where it organizes international tenders for its member cooperatives.

Source: Prepared by Uruguay XXI on the basis of data from the Embassy of Uruguay in Finland.


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