Starting in April, Turku is trying out a new kind of sales and distribution channel for local food products in the urban environment. Local food pick-up point Laari Lähiruokapiste will be launched at Puutori.

Companies involved in the launch: Nurmen Puutarha, Vallan Maukas Oy, Mikkolan tila, Edustus Peltoset Oy / Livonsaaren Leipomo, Heikkilän tila, Kallelan Luomutila, Vihreä Härkä, Patakani Oy, AbiCoffee, MinBy, Villilän Mehiläistarhat, Hunajakeiju Oy, POPS!OY, Heli’s Highland and Arne Puttaa.

Southwest Finland offers the most delicious local products from artisan bread products to organic honey and from veggie protein products to rabbit meat. Opening on Easter, local food pick-up point Laari Lähiruokapiste makes these products and many others easily available in the Turku city centre.

The first orders can be placed online on 7 April 2022, with the products ready for pick-up on 14 April 2022, just in time for Easter. The unmanned pick-up point works with a smart lock and will be standing at Puutori until the end of September, after which the concept will also be tested at another location.

- Promoting a sustainable local food system requires new and creative operating models. The poor profitability of food production underlines the need for change. The Laari concept is one response to the desire to develop a sustainable food system locally, says Project Manager Johanna Mattila from the University of Turku Brahea Centre.

Laari offers an easier and more flexible way to buy local food and creates a transparent chain from field to table. At the same time, it brings another option to the sales and distribution networks of small local food companies and makes it possible to test new products in an agile way and receive feedback from customers quickly.

Several local food producers and companies in the area have joined this experiment. Based on their feedback, there has been a real need for a method of direct sales such as Laari.

- I decided to join the Laari system because a new channel of flexible direct sales makes it possible to reach new customers and gives our small company more visibility, says Peppi Laine from the Mikkola farm.

- During the experiment, both the operating model and the selection offered at Laari will be developed based on user feedback. The offering of local food products will also vary by season and customers’ wishes. Later, the offering will be supplemented with themed food events and food experience services developed together with companies, says Project Manager Ira Lahovuo from the City of Turku.

The Laari Lähiruokapiste pilot is carried out by the University of Turku Brahea Centre and the Food Hub - experiencing local food project by the City of Turku, which has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund. A part of this project, the Laari pilot will continue until August 2023, after which the objective is that local companies will pick up the Laari operations.

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