Finnish market basket study

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Jorma Kumpulainen, Ph.d. Docent, MTT , Food Research: Preparation of the Average Finnish Market Basket Diet

A so-called average Finnish market basket diet was composed in order to estimate the average Finnish intake of nutrients and contaminants. Composition of the market basket was based on the so-called 1997 Dietary Survey of Finnish Adults (1) of the Finnish National Public Health Institute. The research determined the consumption of 2862 Finnish foods throughout Finland. Based on the average consumption figures obtained an average diet was composed which was divided into 11 food groups. The market basket included all foods whose average consumption exceeded 0,5 g/d. The number of total food ingredients thus included was 228. Altogether 1087 food samples of these ingredients were collected which comprised 3 988 sub samples. Total weight of the samples was 2 529 kg. In addition the alcoholic beverage group contained 16 alcoholic beverage types from which 54 samples and 156 sub samples were taken. The samples were collected and the diet composed during 1997 ... 1999. The market basket was divided into 10 food ingredient groups and a separate alcohol group. Table 1 gives the amount of food consumption by group.

Table 1. Food ingredient groups and total consumption in the 1997 market basket
Consumption g/d 1997
Cereal products 180,9
Milk products, liquid 427,0
Milk products, solid 32,5
Meat and egg 131,8
Fish 27,4
Potato products 121,2
Vegetables 116,9
Fruits and berries 221,1
Beverages, spices, sweets, etc. 724,8
Fats 35,7
Alcoholic beverages 289,7
Total 2019,3

Of the 1997 market basket samples 39,9 % were obtained from different supermarket chains in Forssa city located in the South-West of Finland, 38,7 % from manufacturers, 11,2 % from wholesalers, 6,3 % from producers representing FinlandÆs different production regions and 3,9 % from a farmersÆ market. Sample collection was carried out during the period April 1997 and June 1999 when fresh products were collected at the best time of the season for each product type.

The aforementioned pretreatment method of representative food samples of product brands, manufacturers, varieties, producers and countries of origin were aggregated and pooled by food ingredient to compose pooled samples. The proportions of the samples in the pooled samples were determined according to their market shares, which were based on the sales data of daily goods groups collected by A.C. Nielsen Finland, Inc. (3). In addition, market share data was obtained from product manufacturers, Margarine Information, Alko, Inc. and reviews of a Finnish marketing journal (4,5). The sample collection method sought to include major brand names with common markets of approximately 60áàá80 %. Statistical data from the food industry (6) and the Finnish Customs Office were employed for calculating the percentages of imported foods in the pooled samples.

Pooled samples for each food ingredient were further combined to form 11 market basket groups, in relation to the consumption figures determined for each food ingredient. Dioxins and PCBs were determined in each group separately, enabling examination of contribution of different food groups to the total intake. The total market basket diet was also composed and analyzed for the same contaminants. In this way it was possible to check the analytical reliability because the total intake values obtained in various ways would be equal when the analytical quality is good.

See also

  • Kiviranta H, Ovaskainen ML, Vartiainen T. Market basket study on dietary intake of PCDD/Fs, PCBs, and PBDEs in Finland. Environ Int. 2004 Sep;30(7):923-32. [1] doi:10.1016/j.envint.2004.03.002


1. The 1997 dietary survey of finnish adults. Publications of National Public Health Institute. B8/1998.. National Public Health Institute, Department of Nutrition. Helsinki 1998.
3. A.C. Nielsen Finland Ltd.: Scantrack 52/95-51 /96.
4. Pennanen, R.: Taisto laajenee ja kisa kovenee. Markkinataisto 1996. Fakta 1996:10, s. 26-43.
5. Fiilin, P., Pennanen, R.: Kansainvälisyys tuo taistoon tempoa. Markkinataisto 1997. Fakta 1997:10 s.30-51.
6. Tilastokatsaus Kevõt 1997. Elintarviketeollisuus.
7. Tuonti CN-nimikkeistön mukaan 1996. Tullihallitus, Tilastoyksikkö.
10. Kumpulainen J, Hietaniemi V ja Tahvonen R. Elintarvikkeiden ja ravinnon vierasainepitoisuudet - kansainvälistä vertailua. Kemia-Kemi 20: 840-846,1993.

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