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Estonia’s food industry spearheads sustainable consumption trend

As awareness of environmental pollution issues spreads worldwide, the ‘Greensumer’ trend, which practices ecological protection and pursues sustainable consumption, is becoming mainstream among Korean consumers. Along with the spread of this trend, the Nordic country of Estonia is catching the attention of Korean consumers. 

Greensumer, an abbreviated compound word for green consumer, refers to consumers’ tendency to prefer eco-friendly products. Estonia draws consumers’ attention in Korea as this trend gains momentum.

In Estonia, about 23% of farmland is used for organic farming, and forests occupy 51% of the land. Approximately 28% of the territory has been designated as a protected area to maintain pristine nature, and it is one of seven countries that meet the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality standards.

Estonia’s food industry has developed based on organic natural ingredients, including clean water and air. It is also a representative country that takes the lead in producing high-quality products while protecting the environment by applying innovative technologies to the food industry.

Estonia ranks as the second cleanest food-producing country

Estonia has been recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the second cleanest food-producing country in the world for its clean natural environment and strict regulations. Estonia actively responds to the growing demand for eco-friendly and organic food and beverages worldwide.

Estonia is focusing on creating a sustainable food industry environment due to the significant impact of the food production process on the natural environment. Greenhouse gas emissions related to the food industry account for 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). There are concerns about the sustainability of livestock farming as well, which contributes to 14.5% of these emissions.

To overcome these problems, Estonian food and beverage companies actively seek solutions, such as using cutting-edge food technologies to devise new food production methods and develop alternative foods.

As a representative example, the Estonian food company Gelatex developed a scaffold for cultured meat production using potatoes to establish a foundation for sustainable meat production. ÄIO, a company that produces alternatives to animal fat and palm oil, is revolutionising the food industry with ‘yeast biomass’ to provide healthier and more sustainable options.

Innovation for cleaner food

There are also cases where superfoods containing abundant nutrients were developed based on innovative scientific technology. Estonia recently developed the world’s first unique DNA testing method for honey, strengthening the traceability of honey. By analysing the DNA of honey can track where and how the honey was produced and ensure the product’s safety, making it possible to produce better quality honey.

The discovery of ME-3, a probiotic strain that improves digestive function, was also made for the first time in Estonia. Probiotic strain ME-3 provides many health benefits by promoting digestive health, strengthening the immune system, and improving antioxidant function.

Estonia’s Kadarbiku Kimchi is attracting worldwide attention as a fully fermented food. This product, produced through a fermentation process like Korean kimchi, contains various nutrients such as lactic acid bacteria, fibre, and vitamin C and is considered the best food in Estonia.

Estonian food companies are continuously knocking on doors to expand their contact points with Korean consumers. There are many Estonian companies that have already entered the Korean market and are making efforts to expand their presence in there, including those planning to enter the domestic market within this year and in the future.

Estonian food & beverage companies in the Korean market

  • Estonia’s largest potato chip manufacturer, Balsnack International Holding, which exports products to more than 50 countries worldwide, is already distributed in Korea by TRIDGE Co.
  • A. Le Coq’s products have become available in the Korean market also. A. Le Coq is known for producing a wide range of high-quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the Baltic Sea region.
  • EBM GRUPP produces various types of vegetable oil.
  • Nordmel produces natural honey of the highest quality in Estonia’s nature.
  • Some companies plan to enter the Korean market by the end of this year. One is Mull° Drinks, a premium beverage manufacturer that mainly produces sparkling wine and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Coffee Crystal manufactures specialty instant coffee Kohe using the highest-quality coffee beans. It is scheduled to be introduced to the Korean market through TRIDGE Co. this year.
  • Revala, an ice cream powder manufacturer for home and large-scale production, is also scheduled to be launched in Korea. Revala products are designed to appeal to a wide range of consumer preferences, with a focus on nutritional aspects such as vegan and lactose-free ingredients.
  • Punch Club is one of the best cocktail company in Northern Europe.
  • Karila provides a new experience by creating specially designed flowers with chocolate.
  • Rosena produces convenient and delicious collagen supplements.
  • Haage is also in the Korean market. The natural mineral water manufacturer is highly regarded by sommeliers and chefs.
  • Salvest, which produces a variety of products such as raw pickles, fermented cabbage, soups, baby food, jam, and smoothies, is also hoping to enter the Korean market.

Are you interested in trading with Estonia? Enterprise Estonia is providing sourcing services for foreign enterprises. Contact Estonian export advisors or use our free e-consulting service to start trade with Estonia. 


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