Digestive disorders and malabsorption have always been taken seriously in Finland, and there is a variety of special products on the market for those following a special diet. Lactose intolerance is common in Finland. Valio was among the first in the world to develop low-lactose products and it has several patents for manufacturing these products. Today its range of low-lactose products is the widest in the world. Valio has also developed and patented a chromatographic method for the production of fully lactose-free milk products.
Coeliac patients are probably catered for better in Finland than in any other country. The significance of a gluten-free diet is widely recognised here, with gluten-free products available in ordinary shops. Finland's extensive knowledge of coeliac disease stems in part from the country's exceptionally high proportion of coeliac patients, around 1 per cent of the adult population. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in 2007 measured the prevalence of coeliac disease at 0.45 per cent, which according to the Finnish Coeliac Society is probably the world's highest rate of diagnosed coeliac patients. Coeliac diagnosis expertise is of the highest standard in Finland.
In Finland a good variety of products suitable for coeliacs are available and this is due to long collaboration among researchers, patient organizations and the food industry. In addition to traditional gluten-free products produced in Finland there are innovative new products too. Available are several gluten free beers, made of barley but processed efficiently to reach such a low level of protein that it makes it possible for coeliacs to drink them. In Finland a lot of research has been conducted showing that oats are suitable food for coeliacs. Because of this there are oat products processed in a way that guarantees no coeliac harmful cereals are mixed in during processing. Finnish research has led to more rapid and easy testing of coeliac disease now commercialized by a Finnish company. Therefore it is now possible to detect the disease form a fingertip blood sample in a few minutes, even at home.
Finnish bakery Moilas Oy is the second biggest gluten-free bakery in Europe. The plant is also one of the most modern in Europe. Naturally gluten-free products are made using only top quality raw materials and leading edge technology. The baking technology used by Moilas for gluten-free baked products is one of the most advanced in Europe. Products are frozen and packed directly from the oven. They retain their freshness and taste with this process. Freezing the products also ensures that they need no added preservatives. The gluten-free product range now includes plain bread, rolls, baguettes, pizzas, small savoury pastries, and sweet pastries.
http://www.keliakialiitto.fi (The Finnish Coeliac Society)
http://www.moilas.fi (Information only in Finnish)