Customer wishes for sustainability show in the new maternity package

The 2021 edition of the maternity package was released on 12 March. For the first time, Kela invited customers to vote on the pattern for the sleeping bag, and the winning pattern won by a broad margin. The products are packed in a beautiful box that has been designed by Ilona Partanen, one of the winners in the design competition arranged by Kela.

The number of votes given on the choice of pattern for the sleeping bag totalled 1,340. The winning pattern received about 51 % of the votes. The chosen pattern features animal pictures on a light grey background.

Also this year, the design for the maternity package is Blueberries with milk (Mustikkamaito) by Ilona Partanen, one of the winning designs in the design competition for the maternity package arranged by Kela in 2017. In 2018 the box containing the items included in the maternity package featured a design by Robert Lönnqvist, and in 2022 a third winning design will be used, the design by Aya Iwaya. A design competition for new patterns will be launched in 2022.

Several new products alongside classics

The 2021 edition of the maternity package contains a total of 50 useful products for families with babies. The selection of products has, in keeping with the users’ wishes, stayed largely the same.

– The maternity package is still very popular. Of all the maternity grants, 70% are still maternity packages, says Johanna Aholainen, benefits manager at Kela.

Users have wished for items that are easy to mix and match. A new product in this year’s edition of the maternity package is a set of three clothes that can be mixed and matched. For the first time, the package also contains a feeding bib with spill pocket in silicone in addition to an ordinary feeding bib. The number of muslin squares has been increased and emphasis has been put on using patterns with colours.

The clothes chosen for the new maternity package feature neutral colours that can be mixed and matched. Also included are colourful clothes and vivid patterns with themes inspired by nature. This year the package does not include a light-weight overall, blanket or thermometer.

– Experiences of the items in the package is important information for us. We gladly receive feedback from customers also about the current changes to the contents of the package, says Johanna Aholainen.

The development of quality and sustainability continues

A survey about the maternity package carried out in 2020 showed that customers are prepared to compromise on the number of products if this helps to improve the sustainability of the package. This year the number of products was reduced by six.

– Already in the bidding stage we emphasise the sustainability of the products in the maternity package and for instance require that certain minimum standards be met as regards production and choice of materials, says Johanna Aholainen.

The tender process for the 84-year-old maternity package emphasises quality and responsible choices of materials. Of the products produced from cotton, some are to 95 % made of organic cotton. Five fabric items have partly been made from recycled material. Each product must of course meet safety requirements imposed by Finnish and EU law.

Kela has started cooperation with the course Design for Government at Aalto University. The course for instance investigates the carbon footprint of the maternity package. In the future, the aim is to use the carbon footprint as one of the sourcing criteria for the maternity package.

The exact date of the changeover to a new edition varies slightly from year to year, because any stocks remaining of the previous edition must be cleared out first. There has been a slight increase in birth rates, and this also shows in the number of applications for maternity packages in the first couple of months of this year. The distribution of this year’s edition of the maternity package will probably start in March or April.

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