The Finnish food tech companies focus on a wide range of solutions ranging from the development of the so-called next-generation foods such as plant-based foods and cellular agriculture to agricultural technologies such as new farming methods and soil & crop analytics. “Finland has a lot of know-how in technology, forestry, and biotechnology, as well as a vibrant funding ecosystem for companies that solve crucial societal and environmental challenges”, says Lauri Reuter, partner at Nordic Foodtech VC, which has invested in 13 food tech companies in the Nordics and the Baltics.
The Finnish food tech scene is characterised by close cooperation between innovators, research institutions such as the VTT Technical Research Centre and the business community. In fact, some of the most successful Finnish food tech startups are spinoffs of what were initially scientific research projects. “The Finnish food tech ecosystem is very tight-knit and low-barrier - which makes it easy to launch your startup here”, Reuter tells Creative Finland. The food tech companies have set out to solve some of mankind’s biggest problems and as a result, their business potential is immense. “Everyone knows that we need to radically change the way we produce and consume food in order to both mitigate climate change and to adapt to it”, Reuter says. “The food system as a whole is responsible for a third of all the climate emissions. There is no climate-neutral future without fixing that.”
Next, we outline five promising food tech startups from Finland.
The company’s catchy slogan “making food out of thin air” says it all. Using a technology called gas fermentation, Solar Foods is able to make an edible protein using only air, water, some minerals and electricity. This has enormous potential as it enables humanity to decouple food production from agriculture and land use, thus radically reducing its environmental footprint. Awarded by the likes of NASA, the same technology could even be used to produce food in space and on other planets. The protein itself, dubbed Solein, is similar in consistency and mouthfeel to wheat flour and can be used for instance to make dairy replacements.
By upcycling food, forest and agricultural industry side streams into aquafeed, pet food and human food, Enifer helps to keep nutrients that would otherwise go to waste in the food chain. It does this by using a low-emission technology that produces a nutritious mycoprotein that can be used as a drop-in ingredient in food production. Enifer has partnered up with major global companies in both the feed and food industries and is currently drawing up plans to build its first commercial-scale factory. The factory will have, according to Enifer, a production capacity of around 3 million kilograms a year – equal to the amount of protein from 30,000 cows but with at least 20 times lower carbon emissions.
Currently, only a fraction of the small pelagic fish such as herring caught in the Baltic Sea ends up on people’s plates. Most of it is discarded or used as animal feed for being too small for the dinner table. Hailia Nordic has developed a technology to help use small bycatch fish in food production, and it already manufactures products such as pulled small fish and small fish strips. For consumers looking for more sustainable foods, Hailia’s technology promises a significantly smaller environmental footprint than imported fish. The company currently works in Finland only, but its technology has the potential to be used globally, as nearly half of the world’s fish catch is currently unused, wasted or unaccounted for according to the World Wildlife Fund.
One of the winners of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards, Onego Bio has created an animal-free egg white alternative through precision fermentation. The company claims that it has a 90% lower carbon footprint than traditional egg production, plus better yields and lower production costs. Egg whites are an essential element in cooking and replacing them with plant-based alternatives has proven to be difficult. Onego Bio’s alternative does not only match the characteristics of real egg whites but actually improves on them in many ways. The company is in the process of launching a US factory that can produce the equivalent of one billion eggs a year.
Kuva Space’s commercial microsatellites are equipped with hyperspectral cameras, which are used for yield forecasts and crop health analysis. The company can monitor things like crop types, plant health and biomass, biodiversity, and soil conditions. This has immense potential in monitoring and mitigating the environmental impacts of food production, and to make farming more resource-efficient. Kuva Space has closed a €16.6 million Series A funding round and plans to deploy up to 100 satellites in space by the end of the decade. This would enable it to monitor virtually the entire earth in real time.
The fashion sector may look completely digital in 50 years. What opportunities does this open up for the fashion industry and who will be the winner in this huge shift affecting the €700 billion global market?
The Fabricant is a digital fashion house leading the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital-only clothing. It collaborates with global brands and retailers helping them to deep dive into the unlimited possibilities of digital fashion. We talked to the Finland-native founder, Kerry Murphy on what happens in the future of fashion and how it affects the business.
Woodio, a design company built around a biocomposite innovation, received more than 16 million euros in funding and is accelerating international growth.
Having developed a fully waterproof and heat-resistant biocomposite material, Woodio is making waves in the bathroom furniture market providing a sustainable and stylish alternative to traditional bathroom furniture designs. We caught up with Woodio CEO Terja Koskenoja to ask how the brand plans to develop further.