Published 15.01.2024

Food services added to the National Emergency Supply Organisation

Finland’s National Emergency Supply Organisation has been expanded with the establishment of a new Food Service Pool. The purpose of the new Pool is to support cooperation between food services actors in the development of security of supply and the prevention of the impacts of crises that threaten the continuity of the sector.

The Board of Directors of the National Emergency Supply Agency decided on 10 January to establish a Food Services Pool under the National Emergency Supply Organisation. The new Pool will commence operation in early 2024. The Food Service Pool will supplement cooperation in the food supply sector alongside the existing Primary Production Pool, Foodstuffs Industry Pool, Trade and Distribution Pool and the Committee for Home Emergency Preparedness (KOVA).

“The new Pool increases the operating reliability and accessibility of the food supply. It will also help us develop security of supply operations and improve continuity management in the food services sector,” says the Pool’s contact member, Preparedness Specialist Tanja Talvenheimo from the National Emergency Supply Agency.

“The aim is to build stronger cooperation between the sector’s actors in order to ensure continuity of operations even in the event of major disruptions. Other key focus areas include building situational awareness and communicating with stakeholders,” says Pool Secretary Virpi Kulomaa from the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa.

Security of supply can only be ensured with the help of companies

 Every year, food services actors prepare over 350 million meals for daycare centres, schools, hospitals, care facilities, service housing units, garrisons and prisons, among others. Notable providers of food services also include staff restaurants.

The work carried out to determine the need for, tasks, structure and objectives of the Food Services Pool was extensive. It included two studies funded by the National Emergency Supply Agency that examined whether food services actors that provide municipal food services and staff restaurants should be included in the National Emergency Supply Organisation’s pool activities. The results were clear: food services companies need to be included in pool activities in order to ensure the security of supply of Finnish society as effectively as possible. However, food services organisations cannot be provided with sufficient support for the development of security of supply, preparedness and rapid response to exceptional situations without establishing a new pool for them. Establishing a new pool was also seen as providing other benefits, such as network support, facilitating learning from others and increasing understanding of security of supply.

The Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa will serve as the home organisation of the new Food Services Pool. Other partners include the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, which represents municipalities and companies owned by municipalities; the Finnish Association of Private Care Providers, which represents private providers of social and health services; and several food services sector companies.

In future, the Food Services Pool together with the other pools of the Food Supply Sector will participate in the planning and implementation of the sector’s joint seminars, exercises and development projects, among others.