Love for endangered species: Finnish quality products

I have always loved products labelled “Made in Finland”. True or not, I have thought this way we can keep the Finnish society going as jobs stay in Finland, quality remains secured, and our environment is better off, thanks to the high environmental protection laws.

But do the Finnish companies offer high quality made in Finland? I would like to answer yes, but I believe (consumer goods) companies have made some tough calculations and come down to the conclusions that quality does not (always) pay off, nor does production in Finland. This is rather a logical choice: it is no good to be the only producer keeping production in Finland if heading towards bankruptcy because of this choice. Neither is quality warranted if customers do not want it. Surely, for the Finnish society, the main thing is to keep some workplaces, some tax money coming in, and necessary products on the market.

But I would like to have high quality. And I would love to buy Moomin mugs to my foreign friends with the label “Made in Finland” rather than “Made in Thailand”. I would also like to know that the production of the items I purchase does not contaminate the environment any more elsewhere than it would do here in Finland. Neither am I completely convinced that the quality of the products is what it used to be.

Take the following quality-related case that exemplifies the problem at hand. My mother and I, we both have the same Sarpaneva cast iron pot with a wooden handle. Guess which one is my mom’s (from the late 60s or early 70s), and which is mine (from the early 2000s)?


Yep, mine is the one above. Sad, isn’t it? We have a premium product, a pot with a handle, with a retail price of over two hundred euros. Clearly, this price is not high enough to warrant high quality. Maybe the handle is produced nowadays more ecologically? I could find no information about this online, nor could I find information about where the pot (or the handle for that matter) are produced. If we do not want companies to get off with this low quality, something should surely be done?

After now taking up my problem in this blog, the next logical step is to contact Iittala. Perhaps they will have a solution to this quality failure. Perhaps they would even be willing to send me a new handle. At least I can give them a chance to save my love for Finnish quality. Folks, I will keep you posted!


Johanna Gummerus

Associate Professor