Finland’s foodservice market is currently worth €6.6bn (US$7.8bn) and is forecast to grow 2.6% per year to 2006, according to a new report.

According to BIS Shrapnel’s Foodservice in Finland report, there are 15,818 foodservice outlets in Finland serving 1.09bn meals per year.

Between 2004 and 2006, Finland’s commercial foodservice sector is forecast to grow by 3.9% per annum to a value of €1.6bn, and the institutional sector by 1.6% per annum to €2.1bn.

According to the new study, an expected improved economic performance in Finland and rising personal incomes will prompt an increase in restaurant and café segment activity. These sectors will be further stimulated by an anticipated growth in tourism following on from an improving world and European economy.

Growth within the restaurants and cafés segment is therefore forecast to reach 4% per annum between 2004 and 2006. The lower-end dining segment will contribute most to this growth, while demand within the fine dining segment will not be as strong. Younger upwardly mobile Finns are currently (and expected to continue) driving growth in the commercial food sector and encouraging the increase in ethnic food restaurants in particular.

The study highlights that Finns are the leading per capita consumers of roast coffee in the world. The Finnish café culture has developed strongly in recent years with a growing trend towards cafés providing light meals. Finland now has a small number of local coffee house chains.

BIS Shrapnel research into Scandinavian food choices has revealed that American fastfood chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway and Starbucks are not readily accepted by Scandinavians, a trend that is repeated among Finnish consumers. Local Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chains such as ‘Hesburger’ have had better rates of success in Finland.