Finland has Cleanest
Food in Europe
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has
determined that Finns consume the purest food in the European Union.
According to a report in the farmers' union paper "Maaseudun Tulevaisuus,"
a fresh study by EFSA indicates that the food in Finland is cleaner than
anywhere else in the EU.
The study looked specifically at residual pesticides in food and found
that apart from Finland, food in other Nordic countries and Austria was
most likely to be free of pesticide residues. According to the findings
about 72 percent of Finnish food products contain no traces of
pesticides, compared to about 50 percent in the entire EU. Foods
produced according to organic farming practices are usually the cleanest
of farm produce. The highest level of pesticide residues was identified
in foods from outside the EU, particularly in imported fruits and
In another development, the Finnish
microbrewery Saimaan Juomatehdas has launched its second organic beer.
According to the company, almost half of its production will
be organic in 2013.
The price of organic malt is higher than that of ordinary malt, so also
the beer is slightly more expensive. The company is presently starting
up its new brewery in Mikkeli and in future, the aim is annual
production of about 1mn litres. The brewery has a marketing agreement
with beverage company Hartwall, which it states is working well.
Food authenticity and its link to food safety will be covered in the
Masterclass, taking place in Amsterdam on June 5th. More details are on
Source: YLE.fi / Finnish
Denmark: Organic Food Sales Slowing
Organic food sales are slowing in Denmark. In 2012, organic product
sales increased by just DKK 24m (EUR 3.2m) to DKK 5.5bn (EUR 733m).Many
organic products, including eggs, cheese, fruits and vegetables
increased. However, organic milk sales dropped partly because of low
demand for organic low-fat milk (mini milk).
In an attempt to boost organic milk sales, the Danish-Swedish dairy
company Arla has announced that its "mini milk" milk product will be
KRAV-certified in Sweden. The company recently revealed that it would
only be selling the milk product in organic format. It plans to double
its organic mini milk sales by 2015.
ATL / JYllands-Posten
France: Alter Eco
Becomes Part of Wessanen Group
Dutch food firm Wessanen has entered an agreement to purchase Alter Eco
for an undisclosed sum. France-based Alter Eco is involved in the
manufacture of organic and fair trade products such as chocolate,
coffee, tea and juices. The company's products are marketed in the
grocery, independent stores and out-of-home channels under the Alter Eco
brand. Headquartered in Paris, the company generated EUR 16.5m revenues
The acquisition, which is subject to certain closing conditions, is
expected to be completed in early June and does not include France Alter
Eco's activities in North America. Following the acquisition, France
Alter Eco will become part of Distriborg, the French operations of
Wessanen, a leading organic food firm that owns brands such as Bjorg,
Bonneterre, Evernat and Gayelord Hauser.
Wessanen stated that Alter Eco is a welcome addition to its existing
brands and the acquisition is part of the company's commitment to
providing organic foods. Wessanen chief executive officer Piet Hein
Merckens said that France Alter Eco's brands complement the brands of
Wessanen's French business.
"After having taken Clipper on board early 2012, this acquisition will
be another milestone in the execution of our strategy of strengthening
our European leadership in organic food," Merckens added.
Wessanen has reported a 1.1% increase in revenues to EUR 172.5m in the
first quarter of 2013, while EBIT increased to EUR 9.3m, compared with
EUR 2.9m in 2012.
Royal Wessanen, headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, produces
and markets organic foods, frozen snacks, cocktail mixers and fruit
drinks in France, the Benelux, the UK, Germany, Italy, as well as
international markets. Its product range includes biscuits, bread
replacers, cereals, spreads, sweet spreads, juices, condiments,
bouillon, meal components and ready meals, among others.
The move is part of Wessanen's strategy to become a
leading organic food company in Europe. It has developed a European-wide
presence by purchasing companies similar to Alter Eco. However, this is
the first company acquired that specialises in fair trade products.
Alter Eco is considered an ethical or 'equitable' brand, not an organic
brand. In the UK and some other countries, fair trade product sales are
showing higher growth then organic product sales. It remains to be seen
whether this ethical brand purchase is a one-off for Wessanen or part of
a wider strategy.
Organic and ethical brands are regularly showcased at the Sustainable Foods Summit. Taking place in Amsterdam on June 6-7th, the
next summit will highlight marketing and distribution best-practices. More details are on the
Source: News Release / Organic Monitor