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The winners of the first ever European Organic Food Innovation Award competition were Gobbas Gård and Härmän Rati for a new type of organic broad bean product for professional kitchens. The final of the competition for organic food companies was held in early October at the Organic Food Day in Helsinki.

The broad bean product, developed jointly by the organic farm in Myrskylä and an organic restaurant in Järvenpää, is a vegan Finnish organic product that can be used to replace, for example, soy, tofu or cream in cooking. It is suitable for many uses such as for sauces, ice cream, mayonnaise or yogurt. The winning product innovation is so new that it is still unnamed.

The jury praised Gobbas Gård’s and Härmän Rati’s broad bean product for its versatility, good taste and precise targeting to professional kitchens. The winning product was also found to be a truly novel innovation.

– The broad bean preparation is a Finnish organic alternative to soy, which many top restaurants do not want to use. Ilkka Alarotu from S Group summarized the jury’s view by saying that there are still many possibilities for developing this product.

Ten organic food companies took part in the European Organic Food Innovation Award final, presenting their innovations in a short pitching speech in English. According to the jury, the level of competition was fierce, the ideas diverse and all the innovations presented were potential successes.  The organic food day crowd of around 200 voted for their favorite, a vegan white Brie style cheese made from organic cashew nuts by Jokilaakson Juusto Oy.

The developers, too, were amazed at the ease of use of their product

Organic producer Aira Sevón from Gobbas Gård and chef Juha Ollila from Härmän Rati, who introduced the bean product in the final of the innovation competition, emphasize the importance of cooperation. A wide range of expertise has been needed to develop the new broad bean product.

– Even small players can do a lot when they join forces, Sevón emphasizes.

The story of the as yet unnamed product began when Gobbas Gård started thinking about processing domestic organic broad beans into an easy-to-use substitute for imported soybeans in professional kitchens. With Härmän Rati’s expertise the right flavor and many applications were found.

– We were amazed ourselves that it turned out to be so good and so easy to use, admit Sevón and Ollila.

The organic broad bean product withstands high temperatures and oil well and does not split. In addition to Härmän Rati, the product is already being used by, for example, the Restaurant Jord and Maannos restaurants in Helsinki. It is also suitable for the manufacturing of consumer products.

The competition encourages organic innovation.

The European Organic Food Innovation Award competition, held for the first time this year, aims to encourage food companies to launch innovative organic products or services. The winner of the competition received EUR 4,500 and Pinta Marketing Agency’s design services worth EUR 5,000.

In addition to Ilkka Alarotu, who acted as chairman, the competition jury included the export director Thimjos Ninios from MTK, Vice President of Grocery Trade Harri Hovi from K Group and innovation entrepreneur Charlotte Aschim from Norwegian TotalCtrl.

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

Winners of the European Organic Food Innovation Award: Juha Ollila from Härmän Rati and Aira Sevón from Gobbas Gård. Next to Esa Luomunperä from Jokilaakson Juusto, the audience favorite

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