High demand for organic wild berries

11.6.2015

<p>Organic wild berries, particularly bilberry, lingonberry and cloudberry, are exported from Finland in considerable volumes. The demand for organic wild berries is high, especially in Asian countries. In Finland, organic wild berries accounted in 2014 at best for more than half of the total sales volumes of berries. Although the prices paid to the pickers of organic berries are hardly any higher, being organic gives the berries a competitive edge.&nbsp;</p>

”Annual export revenues from organic wild berries vary from 2 to 5 million euro from one year to another. The majority of exported berries are lingonberry and bilberry. Processed products represent a minor part of the exportation of organic berries”, says Senior Officer Sampsa Heinonen from Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira.

In 2014, a total of about three million kilograms of organic bilberries were picked for sale; this is about half of the total sales volume of bilberry. At ca. 90 tons, the amount of organic cloudberries picked for sale exceeded previous levels. Organic berries account for a good half of the total sales volume of cloudberry. The crop of lingonberries was not as good in 2014 as in average years. Almost 76 tons of organic lingonberries were picked for sale, which is one fourth of the total sales of lingonberry.

Organic bilberry was the best source of picking revenues in 2014, with more than five million euro paid to pickers. Revenues from organic cloudberry amounted to a little over one million euro, and from organic lingonberry to just over 600 000 euro.

Wild berries are not always organic

Just growing in the wild does not make berries organic. The key criterion is that no chemical fertilizers or plant protection products have been used in the picking areas in the previous three years. Finland has the largest controlled organic picking area in the world: more than nine million hectares. The majority of this area is located in the Provinces of Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu.

Organic control guarantees organic integrity

Organic control guarantees the traceability and unbroken control chain of organic berries. All the links of the handling chain, including picking, buying, transport, freezing, cleaning, packing and exportation are covered by organic control. Every operator and picking area approved into the control system is inspected at least once a year.

For more information, please contact:
Sampsa Heinonen, Senior Officer, Import, Export and Organic Control Unit, tel. +358 50 575 1481

 

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