Every day we drop a wide variety of food products into our shopping baskets but we do not always stop to look at the ingredients mentioned on the labelling. In fact, many products that we think of as being healthy may contain surprising amounts of unnecessary sugar, fat and salt.
Sugar is not only harmful to the metabolism and waistline, it also damages teeth. Fat is not the only thing that is fattening, too much sugar also adds to people’s need for larger clothing size. In many cases, yoghurts, for example, may be low fat but contain startling amounts of sugar.
Also, a pinch of salt per day is something we all need, unfortunately excess salt raises blood pressure and can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Promoting good nutrition
The vision of the National Nutrition Council of Finland is that it will be easy for everyone to enjoy food in accordance with nutrition recommendations by 2020. Thus, promoting the wellbeing, health and functional capacity of the population has become an issue throughout the whole of the food chain .
Wholesomeness to the fore when developing products for the Pirkka range
The health criteria for new Pirkka products are taken into account as much as is possible during their product development stage. The development work is demanding and long-term because the products need to be developed without losing any of the sensory pleasures they should give us. However, no substitute ingredients for the reduced sugar, salt and fat content are introduced into Pirkka foods. Furthermore, when developing new additions to the Pirkka food range, planning and product development is conducted in close co-operation between suppliers, purchasers, product quality managers and the K-test kitchens.
"In the spring, we introduced Pirkka Little Wolf oatmeal rolls, which had their salt content reduced at the product development stage because we didn’t want to make a strongly salted product for children and young people,” says Heta Rautpalo, Product Research Manager for Kesko's grocery.
Between 2008 and 2014 all Pirkka products that had typically contained high amounts of sugar, saturated fat and salt were examined. A total of 160 products had their sugar, salt and saturated fat levels reduced. Meat and sausage products as well as many ready meals were amongst the foods benefitting from this research.
Other examples are Pirkka’s potato salad, which contained 27 g of fat per 100 g but now has the much healthier amount of 19 g per 100 g. At the same time, its salt content was reduced from 1.1% to 0.6%. Also, Pirkka tunafish sandwiches had a sugar content of 6.4 g per 100g, but nowadays they contain no more than 3.1 g per 100g.
Kesko has its own Product Research Unit that oversees the safety and quality of the grocery and consumer goods sold by K-food stores. The unit’s laboratory analysed nearly 7,700 product samples and made over 17,000 analyses in 2016.
Proven recipes that also state nutritional content
K-Food has more than 6,000 recipes and approximately 5,400 include information about nutritional content – to help make your food choices easier.
When looking for advice about healthier food choices, contact the staff at your local Kesko store when going shopping, or contact the K-Consumer Service (tel: 0800 0 1000 (Mon-Fri 9-13) (free of charge) or visit our website: K-ruoka.fi/palaute.
Read more about good food choices in Finnish at K-ruoka.fi.