Setting the table for joint value creation within the food industry


Within 72 entrepreneur interviews, 37 DesignBites case companies reported 606 interactions with stakeholders outside of their company when describing their development efforts. 26% of these happened amidst other food industry players including other food & beverage companies, restaurants, cafes, bars and industry experts.

Food and beverage companies often support each other with problem solving and sharing best practices, co-creating solutions and new product ideas, as well as combining resources for joint internationalization efforts. Even competitors can collaborate to the benefit of the whole field, with for example small distilleries and breweries rather openly sharing production processes and visiting each other. Competitors can also band together to advance new-to-market products for joint benefits, with for example Entocube offering their assistance for an international competitor in the development of edible insect laws in another country.

  • lightweight collaboration: differentiating products from competitors or scouting for inspiration from food trends and products in other countries through social media
  • active collaboration: sharing expertise on production processes such as fermentation or using infused botanicals in beverages
  • co-creation: developing joint products, such as Mö Foods and Gold&Green collaborating for a oat-based quark with granola or Sugar Daddies and Kyrö Distillery creating a whiskey honey

Restaurants, cafes, bars and their in-house know-how serve as informal experts in product development for packaged food and beverage ventures, their customer base can be used as a test group to validate product decisions, and in return, small ventures can offer novelty, luxury and niche solutions for these venues.

  • lightweight collaboration: sharing information and training, such as NORD-T organizing training nights for restaurants to advance Finnish tea culture
  • active collaboration: testing small batches of new products with restaurants before committing to scaling production or collaborating to find pairings for novel products, such as Ainoa Winery’s beet wines and Sasso Restaurant’s and Hella ja Huone dishes, or crickets and beer in the case of Fat Lizard Brewing Co.
  • co-creation: co-developing new types of packaging or refining surplus ingredients for use in food products, such as Helsieni delivering mushrooms to restaurants while and collecting cafes’ ground coffee waste to grow their products in