Coastal flavors and the sense of sea of Helsinki and Estonia

Teksti: Eva Malkova,  Valokuva: Helsinki Marketing, Jussi Hellsten

The food tourism is growing, new trends are appearing and customer groups are changing. Therefore, it is the time for building new products according to current needs, challenges and interests. Hungry for Finland is the one who constantly looking for new innovative food related products and solutions ideas. Currently creation of food routes is one of the main aims of Hungry for Finland project.

Key objective of Eva Malkova’s product-based thesis was to create a food tourism route located in the coastal area of Helsinki region and Estonia for generation Z including variety of food experiences. Besides main objective thesis included three sub-objectives: enhancing local small entrepreneurs and sustainability, find the possible co-operation opportunities between Estonia and Finland, to find the development ideas for food tourism in both countries. Whole thesis process included cooperation with commissioning party Hungry for Finland project. Purpose was to create an example that can be utilized further by Hungry for Finland.

Appealing food trail for generation Z

Firstly, it was defined that food tourism is a way of tourism where main purpose is to experience mainly local food and beverages. It was also crucial to highlight food tourism trends where one of the trends is related to generation Z which is becoming a new foodie group. Studying food tourism in Finland and Estonia showed that both countries have similarities in food culture: they aim to use pure local ingredients, value the environment and promote food tourism with different products also including food trails.

Food trails are attractions, which offer different food experiences and mainly have common theme. Generation Z is an open- minded generation which is interested in new experiences and moreover in food tourism. Hungry for Finland is the coordinator for the food tourism development strategies in Finland and looks for new products. Coastal and marine tourism is about activities on the coast or water an experiencing food is one of them. The Baltic Sea also plays important role in tourism development as it has good features in attracting tourists and supporting locals.

 7 food tourism related stops in both countries

Product creation process took place in period from October 2021 to November 2021. It started from non-participant observation including observation table created by the author. Aim was to pick up food related places or products according to criteria that has been made based on theoretical findings. Observation table contained several parts which were filled while observing selected food providers. Ready list included 14 places in total: 7 from Helsinki region and 7 from Estonia.  The route was named as “Coastal flavors and the sense of sea of Helsinki and Estonia”. It was decided to create the route map in a brochure style. Therefore, the most suitable tool for creation was Canva. It includes 2 maps from both coasts and marked places on them. All the places has number order which is suggested order of visiting the places. After familiarizing with maps it is possible to read details about each place on the next pages. Among the presented places are cafes, restaurants, breweries, harbour and old markets, cooking classes and food experiences outside usual environment. In total brochure includes 18 pages.

More versatile route for Finnish coastline and collaboration between Finland and Estonia

Some development ideas were given. Author suggest to stretch the route on the whole coastal area of Finland in order to give more versatile experience for the visitors and stretch the food tourism development also outside the Helsinki region. Cooperation between countries could be reached by connecting involved parties and by implementing different thematic tourism campaigns on the coast. English language could be used more on food tourism providers’ information sources since it will attract more tourists from abroad.

Routes- also tool for sustainability development

Food tourism routes – is the product which is still growing and not yet so popular. However, it has a lot of potential for food tourism development. Firstly, food tourism routes are crucial for sustainability development, as mainly they offer the food related products or experiences which are produced locally. Usually, involved stakeholders are connected with common theme, which enables to reach certain goals much faster. Cooperation is an extremely important part of tourism industry and the food tourism routes or trails is literally the tool for building it.

The created food tourism route suggestion and thesis are available here.

 More Information:

Author of the thesis: Eva Malkova, eva.malkova(at)suhtlus.ee

Thesis supervisor: Kristiina Adamsson, kristiina.adamsson(at)haaga-helia.fi