04.07.2022 - Food processing & retail

Fermentful joins the EIT FAN Helsinki Accelerator

The Latvian food technology company Fermentful has been accepted into the EIT food accelerator network EIT FAN Helsinki programme of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Knowledge and Innovation Community EIT Food. It received more than 500 applications from all over Europe. 120 startups were selected as finalists, of which 60 were accepted into accelerators in different countries, including ten in the Helsinki programme.

Participation in the accelerator programme will enable a company to continue its product research and development processes and to build strategic partnerships.

“I am delighted that we are the first Latvian food startup to be selected for the EIT FAN programme,” says Anda Penka, co-founder of Fermentful.

Ten startups from seven countries have been accepted into the programme. Fermentful is the only Latvian company representing not only Latvia but also the Baltic States. The other participants are from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Poland. “This is a great opportunity for us to show that Latvia is strong in food innovation,” says Penka.

Kefir Made from Green Buckwheat

Fermentful produces fermented green buckwheat kefir, wrote Labs of Latvia. Penka’s and the other co-founder Oksana Dāve’s original idea was green buckwheat milk. They took part in the EIT Food Innovation Prize. Among other things, the jury asked how buckwheat milk would compete with the well-known almond or oat milk on the shelf. This gave them the idea of fermenting the milk to produce a kefir-like product. “Green buckwheat is a local raw material because it is grown here and has very valuable properties. From a supply chain point of view, it is much more sensible and sustainable to use Latvian buckwheat instead of nuts from the other side of the world,” explained Penka.

Exports to Finland are planned to start soon. From day one, they aim for large-scale production. “We want Fermentful to be easily accessible to a wide range of consumers, enabling them to improve their mental and physical health. This is not possible if we leave production on a small scale,” said Penka.

Attracting Funding from Support Programmes

From the very beginning, the entrepreneurs have been working with scientists and food technologists at the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies to develop the product. The Latvian Investment and Development Agency’s innovation voucher helped to finance the development of the recipe and the technological process.

The company has also received a grant from the Mārupe Municipality and SEB Bank’s “(ie)dvesma” programme, which served as a steppingstone from an idea to a tangible product. Fermentful has also participated in the ClimAccelerator of the EIT climate technology innovation and knowledge community EIT Climate-KIC.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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