What is it with Finns, grilled sausages and summer? Every Friday night you’ll find hordes of people queuing up at the grilli for a taster. You’ll find sausages at hockey matches, being sizzled at the summer cottage, feasted on at picnics and parties. Amazingly, every Finnish banger is based upon the very first commercial sausage, HK Sininen, launched in 1963. Despite this, Suomi sausages are still a much-loved part of Finnish culture.
To find out why, the fact kings of Finland, Crowst, studied Finnish summertime sausage eating habits. Using their unique mobile app, which enables them to crowdsource consumer insights within hours, they asked 715 people from across the country about their relationship with sausages. These Crowsters, people who share their opinions via the app in return for small rewards, give a fascinating insight into this iconic Finnish grub.
1. Summer doesn’t sizzle without sausages
Over 40% of the participants in the study mentioned that sausages are “part of summer.” Almost half said they had bought grill sausages in the past month.
For people in the Nordics, summer is a ritualistically revered time of expectations, pleasure and togetherness. Sure, everyone enjoys those magical few weeks when school is out. But if your product is part of the nation’s shared consciousness of summer memories, then you have something magical on your hands.
2. Finns love to get social with sausages
According to the study, sausages are consumed grilled, often at parties, out in nature, on picnics, sporting events and the like. Occasions for grilling occur, obviously, at the summer cottage, mökki. Often after sauna. But they’re also popular when visiting childhood homes, or out on market squares. Apparently, some workplaces find time to let employees mingle over sausages.
Sausages appear to be a fun social food or snack. In Finland, grilling is clearly an approachable way to chill out in a way that everyone can understand, whether it be around a barbecue or a camp fire. In short, Finns love to get social with sausages.
3. More meat is a must for many
Some of the major brand Finnish sausages are sometimes jokingly referred to as a vegetarian food, due their meat/flour ratio, which is less than stellar. Still, the study on our hands suggests meat content is the most important priority when deciding what sausages to buy.
Other important factors include a flavour of patriotism; Finns like to buy Finnish sausage brands. Price is the third most important purchasing factor.
Fair enough, for those of us who eat meat, sausages are a filling, relatively cheap food that’s easy to prepare in a number of ways. And finger food is a nice, refreshing option to enjoy every now and then. No wonder, then, Finns are suckers for sausages.
4. Weird and wonderful flavours win
Here comes the big hitter: Finns have a pretty interesting taste in sausages. Participants in the Crowst study were asked to select which flavours they liked or would like to try. Original flavour was the most popular, but cheese, bacon, cheddar, garlic, blue cheese, jalapeno, habanero and chili were also highly ranked.
Other sausage-happy nations (yes, we’re looking at you, Germany) prefer sausages that in themselves have a bit of flavour and character. But Finns appear to enjoy munching on a fast food variation of what Europeans would consider good sausages, with rather bizarre, tacked on flavours.
Most Finns also prefer to pour something on their sausages. 63% of respondents like both ketchup and mustard. Runners-up include pickle salad, potato salad and mayonnaise at around 20 percent. Ten percent of Finns gave their thumbs up to other options, or no seasoning at all.
5. The future of sausages is meaty
In the future, cars will drive themselves, crossword puzzles will fill themselves, you’ll talk into a wristwatch instead of a phone. Or so we’re told. Anyway, Finns have a pretty clear requirement for the future of sausages. Most people just want more meat or long for “new flavours”. Some traditionalists want no change whatsoever.
So, there you have it, a unique insight into the wonderful world of Suomi sausage eaters. If you live in Finland and you’d like to take part in future Crowst surveys to share your opinion about all things Finland, be sure to download their free app for Android or iPhone.
Now, where’s the nearest grilli?