One of the retailers on my must-see list in Helsinki was organic supermarket chain Ruohonjuuri. Ruohonjuuri (the name translates as “grass roots”) is one of Finland’s organic food retail pioneers; their first store in Helsinki was opened in 1982. Today Ruohonjuuri has five stores in Helsinki and four outlets in other Finnish cities; they also operate an online store.
I had googled Ruohonjuuri prior to my trip and decided to visit their flagship store on Salomonkatu 5 in Helsinki’s Kamppii district: a very large and beautiful retail space, vis-à-vis from Kampii metro station. The store offers an extensive selection of fresh and dried organic foods, fruit and vegetables, frozen and chilled products and a spectacular organic beauty department, plus a treatment room where you can book a variety of face and beauty treatments.
I was told that the Salomonkatu store had been recently renovated and it shows: a spacious store layout, attractive product displays and lighting; good signage. And here is the basic store layout: when you enter the store you have organic teas, coffees and other beverages on your left, straight ahead is the fresh food and vegetable section and the chiller cabinets plus organic household products.
Several shelves are dedicated to dried Superfoods and Superfood powders (chia, maca, raw cocoa etc. in large pack sizes; reminded me a bit of Bio-Barát in Budapest, although Ruohonjuuri does not sell own label products), to coconut oils and other coconut products.
As you can see above, Ruohonjuuri also has a fabulous line-up of organic and raw chocolates, sweets and snacks, including my favourite Polish raw chocolate brand Cocoa (I noticed Cocoa in quite a few organic and premium delicatessen stores in Helsinki). Near the cash register are freshly-prepared convenience foods – sandwiches, salads, beverages and so on.
And then, there is the beauty section!
The store carries at least 40 organic beauty brands from Scandinavia, the Baltics, Europe and the US. Unsurprisingly, the range of Finnish brands is particularly large but I was also surprised by the number of French beauty brands sold in Ruohonjuuri – in Germany, it can be difficult to find organic cosmetics from France in bricks & mortar stores; you usually have to order these products online. Then again, Germany has such a strong line-up of domestic organic beauty brands that it is difficult for international companies to enter the retail market.
Anyway, back to Ruohonjuuri: here are some of the brands I saw, starting with Northern Europe (note: this is just a partial list!). Finland was represented by Frantsila, Flow, Pure by Ekovista, Supermood, Ole Hyvä, Puhdas+, White Swan, Mellis, Inkuto and Lunette. Denmarkt contributed Urtekram and Unique and the Nordic line-up also includes Dabba and Mádara from Latvia plus Mádara’s sister brand Mossa, and Lumi, Sosar and Nurme from Estonia.
Western Europe: the German brands includes Sante, Benecos and Logona, Provida Organics, Khadi, Weleda and Dr. Hauschka. France: Alorée, Argital, Acorelle, Cattier, sun care brands Alga Maris and Biosolis, Laboratoire du Haut-Segala, Nafha, Emma Noel, Eliah Sahil, Born to Bio, Florame and colour cosmetics range Boho Green. I was interested to see Aqua Oleum from England – I had met founder Julia Lawless at the Natural Products Europe trade show in London this April. Ruohonjuuri also sells snail range Helixium by Skinature from Spain.
From the US are Schmidt’s deodorant (the range includes creams, sticks and travel sizes), bath and body care brand Dr. Bronner’s, lip care range Hurraw, Bentley Organics and makeup brand Everyday Minerals. There was also a big Zuii (Australia) display stand – I saw Zuii in Helsinki’s Stockmann and Sokos department stores, too; it seems to be a popular colour cosmetics brand in Finland. Another Australian brand was Eco by Sonya.
However, Ruohonjuuri doesn’t just sell organic beauty: the store also has a small treatment room where you can book face and body treatments. This salon area was opened in 2015 and I was told that it is doing really well. The treatment menu includes face care treatments with Mádara, Alorée, Nafha and Provida and various body massages (aroma massage, reiki massage and classic massage) as well as ear candling and hand and foot care treatments.