Sitra Fund: Coronavirus has changed Finns’ habits

The new study found that peoples' attitudes to domestic produce and travel have changed this year, especially during the toughest months of restrictions.

Finnish flag drawn in chalk / Credit: Suomi100 Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpää

A new study by Sitra Fund finds that restrictions caused by the coronavirus have changed consumption habits, values and attitudes of Finns – including a shift to a more sustainable lifestyle and increased national pride.

During the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year Finns spent more time in nature, used their homes and urban surroundings more diversely, and consumed more domestic food products – with a switch to more veggie-based diets.

“The survey shows that the national pride of Finns has increased due to the fact that the coronavirus situation has so far been managed successfully. We appreciate local and Finnish expertise in a new way” says Sitra expert Sari Laine.

The way that authorities have handled the coronavirus pandemic has also been reflected in an increased sense of national pride, the survey finds. “We value localness and Finnish expertise in a new way” explains Laine.

During the pandemic-related restrictions, the interest in domestic travel and buying domestic products increased, with 35% of the urban population in Finland saying that they had bought more domestic produced food during the tightest Covid-19 restriction – with 16% saying they’ll continue to shop the same way when the crisis is over.

And almost 20% of people said they enjoyed more domestic leisure travel this year, with 10% saying they’ll do so in the future as well.

“There is a growing demand for travel services that allow travelers to engage with members of a local community in a deeper way, providing meaningful and more lasting experiences instead of mere instant gratification” the report concludes.

“If the travel and events industry is able to answer this demand, there is a good chance that more people will consume services in more sustainable ways.”

Sitra solicited the views of more than 1,500 Finns living in the country’s biggest cities, on how their daily lives have changed during the pandemic.