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Free-from food innovations from Finland

Free-from food innovations from Finland

The free-from foods revolution is sweeping across supermarket shelves, restaurants and kitchens worldwide, fueling innovation.

More than 30 years ago, Merja Scharlin started making fruit and vegetable juices in her garage, with a passion for their product, starting modestly, and selling on a local scale. Now, her company Bioferme's award-winning range of organic oat-based yoghurts and smoothies are among the most recognisable products in the country. Their Yosa product line is made by fermenting oats, combined with probiotic lactic acid and healthful bifid bacterias.

That's an example of developing  free-from products through innovation. But sometimes, free-from products are a result of necessity. Almost 20% of Finns are lactose intolerant, so there is a long tradition in Finland of making low-lactose and lactose-free products like milk, cream, yoghurt and butter. In parts of southern Europe and in Asia, an even higher percentage of the population have some level of lactose intolerance, so Finnish expertise in the production of lactose-free foods is an important selling point.

Finnish scientists and the food industry have been developing gluten-free products for more than 30 years: primarily for celiac patients, but increasingly now for people who switched to a low-gluten or gluten-free lifestyle.  People with allergies to other cereals like wheat, barley or rye can also use these products. Gluten-free breads, cakes, beer and many other innovative products are widely available in Finland.

Finnish know-how, innovation, high quality production and leadership in research and development of free-from foods is appreciated, and valued in export markets where there is a growing awareness of - and need for delicious- free-from products.