Friday, 14 July 2017

Finnish Milky Way

Despite being a small country, Finland leads the world in many areas, some of which I have previousy documented here.

But recently, I discovered that Finland is world leader in one surprising field.

That field is drinking.

No, not alcohol drinking. The Finns may have a reputation for loving booze, but they are total lightweights compared to most Eastern Europeans (and bizarrely Andorrans and Grenadians).

The Finns are actually world leaders in the consumption of ... MILK.

Oh, yeah, the country with the world’s highest concentration of heavy metal bands per capita rocks a milky vibe, Baby.

To be honest, I should not have been surprised really. One thing that has always impressed me in Finland is the baffling choice of milk on display in shop fridges. Finnish supermarkets are as close to a lactic nirvana as one could hope to get.

On a food shopping trip, I spotted the following milky products in the refrigerators:
SataMaito ykkös maito, SataMaito rasvaton maito, Kotimaista rasvaton maito, Valio arki maitojuoma, Kotimaista kevyt maito, SataMaito kevyt maito, Valio kevyt maito, Juustoportti Vapaan lehmän kevytmaito, SataMaito laktoositon 3.5% täys maitojuoma, Valio raikkaampi laktoositon maitojuoma 3% rasva, Kotimaista laktoositon maitojuoma, Valio kevyt arki maitojuoma, SataMaito laktoositon rasvaton maitojuoma, SataMaito täys maito, Kotimaita täysmaito, Valio raikkaampi laktoositon rasvaton maitojuoma, Valio Plus maito rasvaton, Valio Plus maiton kevyt, SataMaito rasvaton Plussa maito, Kotimaista AB piimä, Kotimaista AB rasvaton piimä, Valio piimä mustikka, SataMaito laskoositon rasvaton piimä, SataMaito rasvaton piimä, Valio piimä rasvaton, Valio piimä 1% rasvaa, SataMaito kevyt luomu maito, SataMaito rasvaton luomu maito, Valio luomu kevyt maito, SataMaito rasvaton luomu maito, Kotimaista laktoositon rasvaton maitojuoma, Kotimaista laktoositon kevyt maitojuoma, SataMaito laktoositon L Casei piimä, Juustoportti kirnupiimä, Valio AB täyteläinen piimä, Valio AB lempeä rasvaton piimä, Valio rasvaton piimä, Valio raikas rasvaton piimä, Valio kahvimaito, Valio kiehu maitojuoma, Valio luomu vanhanajan täysmaito, Valio Pro laktoositon voima maitojuoma, … 

And that was just the refrigerated stuff! There were plenty more options on the normal shelves.

Whether you like your milk (maito), whole (täys), semi-skimmed (kevyt), skimmed (rasvaton), without lactose (laktoositon), organic (luomo), simmered (kiehu), the old fashioned way (vanhanajan), fresh (raikas), even fresher (raikkaampi), for everyday purposes (arki), for use in coffee (kahvi), to drink (juoma), as butter milk (piimä) or any combination thereof, the Finnish supermarkets have it, and from at least 3 different suppliers!

I am not even sure what many of those options actually mean... Can you not drink milk that is not "drinking milk"? Are most of the options not fresh, let alone fresher? Is old-fashioned milk straight from the cow?

In contrast, if you go to the beer section of the supermarket, you will be lucky to find more than half-a-dozen options.

So much for national clichés.

In fact, milk is so hard-core in Finland, that dairy product group Valio even commissioned an advert in 2015 featuring former hell-raiser Lemmy from rock band Motörhead. Admittedly his (ad-libed) lines were not quite on message:
"I don't drink milk, and never will. You a**holes!" 
He died shortly afterwards.

So next time you raise a glass to Finland, make it milky! But choose wisely...


  1. You are not legally allowed call it just "maito", if there's no lactose in it. It has to be "maitojuoma", if they've done anything to it besides controlled the amount of fat, hydrolyzed the lactose, or enriched protein, certain minerals or vitamins.

    ..and "maitojuoma" isn't "drinking milk", it's "milk drink".

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