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Groceries in Finland

Metric conversions: Weight, Volume, Oven temperatures for US / Imperial recipes!

Groceries constitute a regular and significant outlay of funds. One aim of this page is to help you save you a few euros on your grocery bill. It's not about gourmet cooking, and dedicated 'foodies' may disagree with my suggestions - some of which are based on my own experiences and opinions.

Most people, for convenience and economy, do their food shopping at one of the big supermarket chains. The major players are the Kesko Corporation, S-Group, and Suomen Lähikauppa, with Lidl also competing in the market. In the food retailing sector, Kesko owns K-Market, K-Citymarket, K-Extra and K-Supermarket. S-Group has Sale, Alepa, Prisma and S-Market. Suomen Lähikauppa has Euromarket, Siwa and Valintatalo. Lidl is Lidl!

These supermarkets range from small convenience stores to huge hypermarkets designed to provide customers with a one-stop retail outlet for all their needs. The biggest markets are often located on the fringes of large towns and cities, whereas 'urban' supermarkets can be rather small with a limited selection. So, living close to the town centre does not guarantee the biggest choice of groceries, although there may be more specialised shops such as butchers and greengrocers available in the vicinity.

Saving Money on Groceries

Use the Discount Stores
The 'discount stores' include Lidl, Sale, Alepa and K-Market.

Check the Specials
In some countries it seems everything in every shop is advertised every day as "On Sale", but the prices never change. Finnish sales aren't like that; the weekly specials usually involve a discount of 20-30% or more. Buy double and put one in the freezer! You may, however, need a loyalty card to take advantage of advertised specials.

Check for Impending 'Sell By' Dates
Groceries with an impending 'best before' date are usually offered at 30-50% off, sometimes as much as 70%. You'll notice the orange labels on the products. Big savings, particularly if you're in a shop which is already reasonably priced.
Froodly: In mid-2015 a young team called Froodly made it their mission to reduce stores' wastage of food. Froodly's food rescue app for iOS and Android alerts users to 'still-fresh' discounts around Finland.

Sign up for the Loyalty Program
The Loyalty Cards page is all about signing up for Kesko's K-Plussa-kortti, S-Group's S-etukortti, &/or Suomen Lähikauppa's YkkösBonus-kortti, which can save you money in various ways. For example, sale items in some supermarkets are only available to cardholders; otherwise you pay the normal price. Even when buying regular-priced groceries, it's good to be a cardholder because you will add to your 'total monthly spend', or similar, and later receive some benefit such as cash vouchers in return.

Try 'Own Brand' Products
The big chains each market their 'own brand' labels, as well as branded products. Kesko's are called Pirkka and Euro Shopper, S-Group's is Rainbow, and Suomen Lähikauppa's is Eldorado. The products are usually as much as 25% less than the 'big' brand names. I'm no expert on food OR shopping, but my experience over many years is:

The above supermarkets are handy and cost-effective for most people's day-to-day needs. Before moving on to 'specialist' shops, however, I should mention Stockmann. The oldest and perhaps most prestigious department store in Finland, each Stockmann store has a delicatessen / supermarket section. Stockmann has a bit of a reputation for high prices, but their grocery prices are actually very reasonable and they sell many products which are hard to find elsewhere. If you're a foreigner looking for something from your home country, it's always worth checking Stockmann!
Deli section: stockmann.com/fi/herkku Fi, Sw

Market Halls - Kauppahallit

It seems the dominance of the chain stores has left small independent grocers in the shadows. You see very few butchers, greengrocers or fishmongers, and when you do they are often at marketplaces or events for a limited time only. You can however visit your local kauppahalli for something special and, if you choose, a distinctly Finnish flavour. 'Kauppahalli' means "Market Hall"; Helsinki has 3, and they are also in Iisalmi, Joensuu, Kouvola, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Oulu, Pori, Tampere, Turku and Vaasa.

Kauppahallit are well known for local produce; they have a large range of dairy, bread and Finnish pies, fish, meat (including moose, reindeer etc), potatoes, fruit and vegetables. There are also imported foods such as cheeses and sausages. Apart from enjoying the produce, you'll probably get to see a piece of your town's history; many market halls are over 100 years old, and adjacent to the town's market square.

Turku Kauppahalli (1896)

Where is the Kauppahalli?
To find your local market hall just enter the word kauppahalli and the name of your town in a search engine. Kauppahallit generally have 'normal' opening hours, for example Monday-Friday 7.00-17.30 and Saturdays 7.00-14.00

Butchers, Fishmongers & Greengrocers

I've tried with limited success to find local grocers using the Yellow Pages. Try entering the following terms and your location in the Henkilöt, yritykset, palvelut ja puhelinnumerot box.

If you see a Yellow Pages result including:

Online Grocery Shopping

A Finnish online 'supermarket' is available at www.ruoka.net. The site is in Finnish only. I have not used this service so cannot recommend it one way or the other. Ruoka.net appears to have been in business since 1999. The product range looks to be what you'd find in a 'normal' Finnish supermarket, and the grocery prices don't seem exorbitant. In addition to the price of the groceries you'll be paying delivery charges, which vary according to speed and time of day. A number of other charges are listed, such as a an ordering fee and a billing fee. If I understand correctly, they serve "Southern and Central Finland (excluding Oulu)".

If you're shopping at Amazon from Finland, use a European Amazon site rather than American or otherwise. Finnish ALV (VAT) will then be taken into account during the purchase process and you won't be liable to additional customs or excise when your goods arrive in Finland. There are restrictions on the import and export of certain goods, so you may occasionally get to checkout and be told "Amazon can't ship this to your address".

From the Grocery section of amazon.co.uk I've imported chocolate, candy, and pistachio nuts, but was not able to bring Vegemite to Finland. So, it's a bit "hit and miss" but worth trying for a couple of reasons:

Amazon Buying Tips:

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