With the Nutrition Calculator in the Omat ostot (My Purchases) section of the S-mobiili mobile app, you can determine the healthiness of the food you have been buying. You will also be able to view the food’s nutritional values and compare them with the Finnish recommendations. The Calculator will help you understand the nutritional value of the food you buy, and it can assist millions of people in Finland in making healthier choices. A pilot group is currently testing the Calculator’s beta version. The service will be made available to all co-op members in the Omat ostot (My Purchases) section of the S-mobiili mobile app within the next few weeks.
“This is a groundbreaking service, both nationally and globally. It provides unique information on the healthiness of your shopping basket. Information that is easily available can have a major impact on purchasing behaviour. The longer people use the Calculator, the greater the potential impact on public health”, says Mikael Fogelholm, professor at the University of Helsinki Department of Food and Nutrition and one of the developers of the calculator.
“People have been talking about the health aspects of food for a long time. The Nutrition Calculator will make monitoring the healthiness of your shopping basket easier than ever before. Almost 400,000 people are already using the My Purchases service, and half of them state that the data influences their purchase decisions. People have requested more information on nutrition in the service. We are pleased to have developed a world-class service for our customers together with top academic experts”, says Pekka Litmanen, S Group’s Head of Customer Relations & Loyalty.
Nutrition Calculator is based on official nutrition recommendations
The Calculator indicates the share of carbohydrates, sugar, fibre, proteins, fat, saturated fatty acids and salt in your diet, and compares this data with the recommendations. You are able to drill down to the product level in the case of all the nutritional values. The service also provides feedback to motivate you towards a healthier diet and offers you more information on the nutritional value of different foods. My Purchases also shows how large a share of your purchases is vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.
“If approximately 2.4 million co-op members were to start using the Nutrition Calculator and successfully managed to reduce the amount of salt they consume, for instance, it could have a truly significant impact. We have been working to encourage smarter choices with the selections of our grocery stores for a long time, and the Calculator is an important continuum of this persistent work”, says Antti Oksa, S Group’s Vice President responsible for the supermarkets.
“For example, many people fail to see from which products they get the salt, fat and fibre in their diet. What is especially great about the Calculator is that you can view your diet at the product level, which can reveal the sources from which you get hidden salt, for instance. Consumers will not be left alone with this information: instead, they will receive concrete information on how they can improve their diet and tips on how to make better choices”, Mikael Fogelholm explains.
The Calculator receives the data from the nutritional values specified on food packages. In the case of unpackaged products, such as fruit and vegetables, the nutritional values are retrieved from the National Food Composition Database Fineli, which is maintained by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. This way, consumers can receive comprehensive nutrition data from one place in a whole new way. The recommended values used in the service are based on Finnish nutrition recommendations, Fineli and an EU regulation*.
The Nutrition Calculator will be further developed in the autumn to make it more comprehensive.
“Most people should be more concerned about salt than sugars”
Finns have increased the amount of vegetable oils they consume, and children eat more vegetables than before. The recommendation remains at five to six handfuls of vegetables per day, but Finns still eat only about half of that.
“If we were to increase the consumption of a variety of greens, root vegetables, fruit and berries, we would also get more fibres, less salt and fat of a better quality”, says Maijaliisa Erkkola, a docent at the University of Helsinki Department of Food and Nutrition.
The S Group purchase data also proves this. More than 70% of the fruit and vegetables we buy are the familiar ones: potatoes, bananas, oranges, tangerines, tomatoes, apples, cucumbers and carrots.
Nine out of ten people in Finland consume too much salt.
“Most Finns should be more concerned about salt than sugars. Salt is a major public health challenge, because high salt consumption is linked to the most common Finnish national diseases, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. The Nutrition Calculator is based on the premise that users must also be shown what is good about the food they have been buying. That is just as important as the areas requiring improvement. When discussing food, you need to be lenient and reinforce feelings of success”, Erkkola points out.
Half the users say that the service has affected their purchasing behaviour
Almost 400,000 people are already using the My Purchases service in S-mobiili. According to a customer survey, the data provided in My Purchases influences the purchase decisions of half of the users. The service promotes both economical and value-based buying. Based on enriched purchase data, the service allows co-op members to monitor their purchases and the purchases of their household. The most popular features include monitoring your own purchases, monitoring your vegetable consumption and a domestic content calculator.
The S Group uses many ways to encourage the co-op members to make smart choices. Placing seasonal vegetables at highly visible locations in stores increased the consumption of Finnish vegetables by millions of kilograms, while efforts to promote domestic fish increased the sales of fresh fish in all S Group grocery stores by 20%. The S Group is committed to considering the amount of salt, sugar and fat used in its private label products, aiming at the products being as healthy as possible. A new concept, Retki kauppaan (Trip to the Store), was created in cooperation with Ruokatieto Yhdistys ry and Ässäkokki (Ace Cook) cooking classes were created in cooperation with the Martha Organisation to support the food education of children.
Antti Oksa, Vice President, Assortments and Pricing, SOK, antti.oksa(at)sok.fi, tel. +358 10 768 0699
Pekka Litmanen, Head of Customer Relations & Loyalty, SOK, pekka.litmanen(at)sok.fi, tel. +358 10 76 80724
Mikael Fogelholm, professor, University of Helsinki, mikael.fogelholm(at)helsinki.fi, tel. +358 50 318 0302
Maijaliisa Erkkola, docent and lecturer, University of Helsinki Department of Food and Nutrition, maijaliisa.erkkola(at)helsinki.fi, tel. +358 50 416 0389
1Terveyttä ruoasta! Suomalaiset ravitsemussuositukset 2014. National Nutrition Council of Finland 2014. Available at
2 Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Fineli. Ravintotekijä: Energia, laskennallinen. Available at .
3Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council