Estonia has a total of about 450 food industry enterprises which employ around 13 000 people. About 70% of the food industry products end up on Estonian dining tables, one third is exported to neighbouring countries and further destinations.
The journey of high-quality food begins from carefully selected basic products – be it fresh and 100% antibiotic-free raw milk, meat of animals fed with local high-quality feedstuffs or the grain from the field nearby. Food manufacturers take good care of using basic products with clearly identifiable origins.
Contemporary Estonian food industries use modern technologies, ensuring that the manufacturing as well as logistics of the products is as fast, automated and hygienic as possible and has minimum effect on the environment. Any large industry has, in addition to the production and packaging devices, a well-equipped laboratory with experts who closely monitor the quality indicators of the produced food.
Estonian food industries have made significant investments in bringing their production conditions in line with the EU’s hygiene requirements – the hygiene requirements of a contemporary food equal with that of operation theatres and the pharmaceutical industry. The production spaces are faultlessly clean from top to bottom and one can only enter them in special clothing. Such strict requirements ensure food safety as well as keep the food fresh for longer without added preservatives.
Although the primary purpose of food industry is to ensure the availability of high-quality staple foods with affordable prices, an increasing amount of attention is dedicated to the high nutritional value of food, its utility and a versatile menu for the Estonian families. The Estonian consumer is very health-conscious, which is why manufacturers aim to produce food which is as natural as possible, without any artificial additives and an excessive amount of salt and sugar, and with the maximum content of basic products.
The Estonian food industries follow various national standards, many of which are related to package labelling – namely, the package must provide the consumer with information about the contents and origins of the product in a readable and understandable manner. The manufacturers additionally use a variety of food labels which help the consumer navigate between products. Read about the food labels here.