A growing number of respondents in K Group’s K-Barometri survey* in April felt that they are eating unhealthily. According to the survey results, almost one-in-three (28%) customers eat less healthily than before because of higher food prices; among families with children, the figure is more than one-third (36%). On the other hand, 16% of respondents say they are eating more healthily as a result of the higher prices. Simultaneously, more than half of customers have switched to more affordable options, with 64% of respondents saying they are buying more private label products.
K Group aims to make it easier to customers to make healthier yet affordable choices at the grocery store by adding the Heart Symbol to at least 200 of its private label products. By the end of 2024, the symbol will be added to Pirkka, Pirkka Parhaat and K-Menu products in connection with packaging changes.
Granted by the Finnish Heart Association, the Heart Label shows that the product is a healthier choice in its product group. “As many as 90% of Finns are familiar with the Heart Symbol, which is great, as the Heart Symbol products are intended for everyone. The foods that matter most in terms of your health are the ones you eat the most and most often – that’s why it’s especially important to choose a Heart Symbol product in these cases,” explains Anna Kara, a Heart Symbol nutrition expert.
The increase in the number of Heart Symbol labelling has started at a fast pace, especially for Pirkka products. To date, almost a hundred Pirkka products have been granted the right to use the Heart Symbol, and the symbol has already been added to the packaging of more than 30 Pirkka products. The Heart Symbol will be widely used in products ranging from fruit purées to salad dressings and fish products. The symbol will be added to the product packaging as the packages are renewed. Old packaging stocks will be used up to prevent unnecessary waste.
“The updating of the labels on the packaging of meat and cold cuts has been completed in a relatively short time, and many Pirkka cold cuts such as Pirkka thin boiled ham and turkey fillet have therefore already been labelled. The Heart Symbol can now be found on many chicken products as well, such as unseasoned Pirkka chicken fillet strips. In addition, the first K-Menu product, K-Menu instant oatmeal, has been awarded the Heart Symbol,” says Tuuli Luoma, Kesko’s Director responsible for private labels.
Developed by an independent group of experts, the Heart Symbol criteria are based on scientific evidence. “A product can be awarded the Heart Symbol if it meets the nutrition criteria for its product group. Depending on the product category, the criteria cover the amount of sugar, salt and fibre, as well as the amount and quality of fat. In the case of cold cuts and other meat products, for example, moderate amounts of salt and fat are essential,” Kara explains.
K Group has made five new nutrition commitments
K Group supports the implementation of the Finnish nutrition recommendations by making nutrition commitments. A nutrition commitment is part of the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development through which different actors commit to promoting sustainability in their operations. K Group’s nutrition commitments are based on the K Group health and nutrition programme published at the beginning of the year. More information about the commitments is available at sitoumus2050.fi. Anyone can follow the progress of the commitment targets, as reporting takes place transparently through the website.
In addition to adding Heart Symbols to packaging, K Group’s ambitious goal is for Finns to eat half a kilogram of vegetables a day by 2030. Another goal is to reduce the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat in Pirkka products.
“Pirkka is known as a reliable product range that offers good value for money and a wide selection of products from different product groups. By reducing the sugar, salt and saturated fat in Pirkka products, we can nearly imperceptibly assist Finns to improve their diet while still enjoying their favourite affordable products. With the changes in nutritional value, more Pirkka products will also meet the criteria for the Heart Symbol,” says Luoma.
For a comprehensive list of Pirkka products that have been awarded the Heart Symbol, see the Heart Symbol website.
* K-Barometri survey conducted via the K-Kylä customer community, April 2023, n=961, families with children n=226.