November 30th I am participating the #slush16 and starting the journey with Slurps food innovation side event hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Anna-Leena Miettinen from the ministry open up the event. She was highlighting the fact that Finland needs more food innovations and focus international markets.
Her view was shared by the CEO of Foodora Ville Vasaramäki but he also explained how important it is to enter new markets with small teams and even fail fast rather than use too much resources and time to think about the internationalization. If the service or product is different and new then enter fast rather than wait and think too long. Big risks but also big rewards as he highlighted.
Founder of Ambronite (food of Gods) Simo Suoheimo (pic below) presented his views on food (healthy smoothie) product launch (so called lean launch). He was explaining how important it is to build movement around your product and company. By utilizing the positive movement it creates also free publicity which sometimes leads to increased sales. They sold their first beta products at local food fair and after that created really basic landing pages to ask those who are interested in healthy eating to order their beta products. Many people from all over the world including U.S. pre-ordered products. In 12 months they were selling to 40 different countries.
Even though Suoheimo did not highlight the aspect of storytelling it links usually to monetization i.e. how we make money out of the story.
Esa Wrang (pic below) is responsible for food business at the Finpro with background at Finnish companies Raisio and Leaf. He presented the Food from Finland program in which idea is to help Finnish food companies to internationalize. Together with the Finnish food industry companies Finpro and the companies have jointly decided to which export countries they are focusing e.g. China, Korea and Japan.
To summarize, #slush16 side event #slurps show cased how small Finnish food companies have succeeded but how those could become even bigger in the future. All highlighted fast and lean launch into those countries that are attractive. And utilizing help of Finpro and similar agencies in Finland will many times help. Marketing activities in the digital environment will speed up the launch, internationalization and success of most of the Finnish food companies.