European Region of Gastronomy Projects

European Region of Gastronomy Kuopio 2020-21 is being implemented as a collaborative project by ProAgria Eastern Finland and the Rural Women's Advisory Organisation, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, SawoGrow and the City of Kuopio. More than 70 companies, event organisers, educational institutions and development organisations throughout the region are involved.

European Region of Gastronomy collaboration aims at increasing the region's vitality and, in particular, the revenue of companies in the food, tourism and creative sectors.

During 2020-21, Kuopio and North Savo are the world's culinary hub. North Savo is known for pure and tasty raw ingredients, vigorous agriculture, enterprising food businesses and incomparable culinary experiences. We are proud to be ambassadors of our healthy food culture, and local businesses favour locally sourced ingredients.

People visit North Savo because of its appealing food culture. Our region's distinctive, innovative and responsible food culture is also actively exported. From near and far, people want to experience our region's unique gastronomic delicacies and interesting culinary events.

We are part of the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. We are purposefully developing responsible, durable operating models within the Platform. Models for responsible activities will bring new jobs and vitality to our region. We are providing long-term support for business collaboration models and activities in the region that will benefit the region's actors widely. We network with ERG regions because we need to interact in order to learn about and understand our own and other cultures and good practices.

Value proposition for companies: We will support companies seeking new business, new products and services and new customers. We will also offer an opportunity to benefit from the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the international network and networked collaboration with other companies and actors. Companies will get expertise and concrete support for product branding, development, marketing, sales and export as part of the North Savo responsible gastro-tourism brand.

For the overall ERG project, indicators have been created in order to monitor achievement of the aims from economic, social and environmental perspectives.

Economic responsibility

With regard to economic responsibility, we want to measure, e.g. the increase in the region's tourism revenue, the number of foreign tourists, the increase in culinary tourism-related business activity in the region and the profitability of companies.

The selected indicators are as follows:
» Overnight stays
» Overnight stays by foreign tourists
» Number of culinary tourism products
» Culinary tourism product sales (€)

Environmental responsibility

With regard to environmental responsibility, the things to be measured may include the use of local food, the amount of food waste, recycling efficiency and amount of waste, consideration for environmental issues in procurements and the number of environment-/responsibility-certified companies.

The selected indicators are as follows:

» Proportion of locally sourced food in company procurements (%)
» Number of restaurants monitoring food waste
» Number of environment- or responsibility-certified companies

Social responsibility

With regard to social responsibility, we want to measure, e.g. the effectiveness of business networks, the transparency of procurement chains, the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage, and local residents' pride in their home district.

The selected indicators are as follows:
» Number of partnerships in networks
» Number of products and services promoting local culture
» Number of participants in food events and users of food services
» Satisfaction of participants in events and users of services

The overall European Region of Gastronomy project currently consists of a total of seven component projects, which are administered by ProAgria Eastern Finland and the Rural Women's Advisory Organisation together with the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

In the strategic-level projects, work has been done both regionally (Gastronomic Plan project) and to influence the funding programmes for the coming programme period through international cooperation (EUREGA).

The strategic objectives are pursued by the Gastro Business project, supporting the development of companies through training, and the ERG Year of Celebration project, in which the programme for the year is being implemented. In the Savonian is a Matter of Taste project, the European Region of Gastronomy is publicised regionally and by involving special groups.

Business group projects, such as Gastronomic Bridge, which focuses on collaboration between food companies and export, and Four Season Derby, with an emphasis on the commodification of rural tourism, support and implement the overall project.

The projects are being implemented with support from the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.