Striking food workers in Finland have sent the purchasing public scurrying across the border to Sweden for supplies.
The Swedish boundary town of Haparanda has seen a marked increase in trade since the strikes began, and is currently preparing itself for a further flood of Finnish shoppers as the situation intensifies. Supermarkets ICA Max and Coop Extra are filling their cold stores to capacity with meat in anticipation of the rush. ”At present, the most sought-after sales article is minced beef,” said ICA Max worker, Ulf Myllymaki.
The prolonged dispute that has caused havoc in the Finnish food industry has created a significant vacuum in the supply of meat and processed foods, but hungry customers are not willing to wait for the situation to be resolved, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
“I have heard from Finns that the shelves of Finnish stores are beginning to be empty. The impact of the Finnish industrial action can already be seen as an increase in our sales,” said Greger Gard from Coop Extra.
“The management of this enterprise ordered that we will have to increase the volume of orders. Next weekend could turn into a real high season, resembling those during skiing holidays, when our store alone sells roughly as many as 3,000 to 4,000 kilos of meat products per day,” said Kristiina Lehtonen from ICA Max’s fresh goods department. She added that Haparanda stores would not run out of stock for Swedish shoppers.
Rapid business fluctuations mean that cross-border shopping is not unusual along the Swedish and Finnish boundary. ”We are prepared for the arrival of Finnish customers every weekend, even when there is no strike, but now the demand for food is exceptionally large,” noted Lehtonen.