Saves resources, time, and money – sounds like an innovation transforming the food system!

When going gets tough, the tough innovate new solutions. That can be said of team Natinrec, who’s novel method for natural ingredients' recovery is exactly the kind of effective solution the world needs when population increases while resources diminish.
Innovating for improved efficiency

Natinrec deploys ultrasound for producing natural extracts from plant organics, with the core of the novel technology laying in the continuous process researched and developed at the LUT university. With this solution technologists and future Natinrec business owners Dmitry Gradov and Jussi Tamminen can get more out of scarce natural resources at lower costs and time compared to conventional extraction.

Indeed, such is the beauty of production process innovations. They are invisible to the end consumer, but cost-saving for the food company and impactful in reducing waste and feeding more people from a food system perspective. 

Technologists in need of food business Sherpas

Natinrec’s extraction solution can be used in various industries, where food is among the biggest ones. However, without previous experience, the industry is like the Himalayas for the first-time visitor. That’s why Dmitry and Jussi applied to the Viikki Food Design Factory’s Germinator programme: to get guidance from the food industry Sherpas on their journey from science to the food industry.

- Germinator has offered us a comprehensive package of research-to-business knowhow filling the voids of unknowns and hesitations. Hearing the thoughts of food companies and investors gave us understanding on the current state-of-the-art and needs of potential customers. It helps greatly in working out a selling strategy, says Dmitry, the future CEO of Natinrec.

Even though the key benefit in Natinrec’s novel solution is clear, what is not self-evident is who exactly are the most interesting customers in the food sector and how the solutions is best offered to them. This is where the food industry Sherpas from Viikki Food Design Factory, i.e. Reetta Kivelä and Laura Forsman, come into the picture, along with mentors they seek for Natinrec from the food sector network.

Innovation is a never-ending journey

Besides industry understanding, the Germinator programme seeks to endow its teams with learnings about how food businesses in the 21st century are run. In the current day sustainability is a must-have. Although all Germinator teams’ solutions tick the box, an important insight to grasp is that food businesses will have to constantly align their activities to pitch in to the sustainable food system transformation. A pioneering company to learn this from is Oatly, one of Germinator programme’s sponsor-mentors.

- Building a more sustainable food system is at the heart of Oatly’s operations. It goes without saying that we need new inventions to accelerate the breakthrough in sustainability. It has been inspiring to get to know the solutions of different teams and hear what is happening in the Finnish innovation field, says Oatly’s Sustainability Manager (Nordics), Liisa Kolehmainen.

Food system transformation doesn’t take a small village to happen. It takes all of the global village; among them the courageous scientists establishing startups and the knowledgeable industry professionals embracing the newcomers. In this process, Viikki Food Design Factory is happy to do its part by facilitating the co-learning between the established and the new entries in the agrifood ecosystem.