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The organic industry is buzzing with innovation – a highly competitive innovation competition final at Organic Food Day

Ten companies were selected for the finals of the European Organic Food Innovation Award for organic food companies. The final of the first-ever competition will be held on the 2nd of October at Organic Food Day in Helsinki.

The aim of the competition is to encourage food companies to market innovative organic products or services. In addition to the actual organic product, the competition was open to a service, technology or process involved in the production or distribution of the certified organic product. Eight of the finalists represent product innovation, one represents service innovation and one represents process innovation.

-The level of applications was surprisingly high and it was great to see how different companies with their innovations applied to participate in the competition. This shows that the organic business is buzzing with innovation activities, notes Janne Saarikko, Country Director of the Founder Institute Finland.

The finalist companies include:

Arla Oy, service innovation
Gobbas Gård & Härmän Rati,
product innovation
Goodio / Helsinki Heaven Oy,
product innovation
Heikkilän Juustola,
product innovation
Helsinki Mills LTD,
product innovation
Jokilaakson Juusto Oy,
product innovation
Maria of Lapland Ltd,
process innovation
Spices Chef Ltd & Promotto Spices
, product innovation
Suomisen Maito Oy,
product innovation
Valio Oy,
product innovation

New organic innovation to meet consumer demand

Demand for organic products has increased throughout the 2010s, and organic sales have doubled in this decade. New innovative launches will boost growth in the organic market.

-We need more new organic products on the market to meet the growing demand. Innovativeness is an important feature of an organic product, as organic products that are just a replica of conventional products are rarely successful on the market, says Executive Director of Pro Luomu Marja-Riitta Kottila.

In addition to primary production, organic imposes strict conditions on food processing. For example, only about 50 additives are allowed in the manufacture of organic products, while there are more than 300 authorized additives in the manufacture of conventional food products. In addition to innovative products, it is also important to invest in innovation in processes, technologies and services, which is why the European Organic Food Innovation Award is not just a product competition.

– Producing an organic product requires creativity. It is not impossible, however, and the aim of the competition is to encourage companies to innovate, especially with organic products. It’s good to remember that organic is an international brand that is growing worldwide, says Kottila.

The final will be a pitch competition at Organic Food Day

The finalists will have three minutes to explain to the judges why their innovation deserves to win the competition. The criteria for judging the competition are novelty value, innovation and creativity. In addition, the impact of the innovation on consumer behavior, business opportunities and environmental and health impacts will be assessed, and last but not least, how ‘cool’ the product is.

The judges of the competition include Director of Export Thimjos Ninios, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners of Finland, Alarotu, Senior Vice President in S Group, Harri Hovi, K Group’s Vice President, Commerce and as international attestation innovation entrepreneur Charlotte Aschim / TotalCtrl.

The European Organic Food Innovation Award is organized by Pro Luomu ry and the Founder Institute in cooperation with the Pinta Marketing Agency, S Group and K Group.

The Organic Food Day is a seminar directed at food industry professionals and experts. The Finnish Organic Food Association has been organising the event since 2014. This year, the seminar will be held in the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on 2 October. The theme of the seminar is innovations and the future.

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