Local Businesses Boosted by European Region of Gastronomy Award

The time has come to summarize the benefits of the celebrated European Region of Gastronomy Award granted to North Savo for 2020–2021.

The international Local Food Gift Challenge inspired many businesses in North Savo to design food gifts, five of them earning international prizes. During the two years, a total of 30 companies and 50 products competed in the challenge.

These products are sold, for example, in Koivumäki Manor, Puijo Lodge, and local food store Tullintupa in Kuopio’s market hall. The first of its kind in history, the European Food Gift Challenge, aimed at creating local food and food-related gifts, was organised as a part of Gastro Business project in September 2020.

Comments of a collaboration partner

“As a whole, the ERG project was a positive experience for me and the activities and results were in line with my expectations. I am a farmer in the beginning of the product development process focusing on biodynamic production of fruits and processed fruits.

Especially the high quality food development sparring that was both, concrete and effective provided during the Local Food Gift Challenge deserves special thanks. Partly as a result of this process, jams and syrups forming the Pohjolan Hedelmä product family got their final touches and the packages their new distinctive visual design. The pop up sales events organised by the project team were a concrete help in the introduction and sale of the products to consumers in the region.

Encouraged by the project, our company is ready to take the next steps, even relatively ambitious ones, in further processing of organic fruits independently, as well as with the help of other similar supportive projects.”

Panu Hiekkala, Hiekkala farm

Panu Hiekkala.


Savonia, ProAgria/Rural Women’s Advisory Organization Eastern Finland, Development Corporation SavoGrow, Savo Municipal Federation of Education, Service Sector College PAOK and Upper Savo Vocational College have been participating in multitude of projects around the ERG Award. During the past two years, projects related to the ERG Award have given a tremendous boost to the food culture of North Savo and awareness of our raw materials.

Goal 2 - Zero hunger


Double agricultural productivity and income for small producers by 2030 by guaranteeing access to information, markets and value creation opportunities.

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