A genuine warehouse of super-food ripens each year in the Finnish forest: blueberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fibre. Due to its outstanding nutritional values, the blueberry is a key raw material in the Drinkable Supermeals made by the startup Ambronite.
The idea for the Supermeal originated in Aalto University, when one of Ambronite's founders, Simo Suoheimo, began developing liquid meals for his own busy, mobile lifestyle.
"I got tired of the food available for when you're on the move. It was poor in terms of nutritional value, taste and quality. I began to prepare meals for myself from real, easy, nutritional and portable food."
Suoheimo soon discovered kindred spirits at the University. Mikko Ikola, the founder of the biohacking community, and Arno Paula, an iron man contestant, were also concerned about the unhealthy diets of busy students and working people. Austrian doctor, Christian Müller, who is completing a doctoral dissertation in the field of medicine and nutrigenomics, is also contributing to the development of the Supermeal.
"Energy bars and other, similar snacks contain supplements and are not healthy. We wanted to make nutrition-optimised food which combines Finnish raw materials and science and enables busy people to live full and healthy lives."
International investors found with Tekes' support
With the support of Tekes, Ambronite began branding the product directly from Silicon Valley, USA. Half of the company's turnover already comes from the other side of the Atlantic.
"We would not be here without the support of Tekes and, above all, the community that grew up around our product. Unusually for a food product, the Supermeal was developed alongside customers and based on their preferences from the very beginning."
"Success required finding the right international investors – and a lot of leg work. In the spring of 2014, we made a new crowdfunding record on IndieGoGo and received advance orders for Drinkable Supermeals from 35 countries. We also received international media attention."
Supermeals are now being drunk in 40 countries and the company is developing another drinkable meal. Supermeals achieved growth of 10 to 20 percent per month last year. Most Supermeals are ordered directly from the online store, but the company intend to sell the new product on the bricks-and-mortar retail market as well.
Food that serves the needs of busy people
The Supermeal is a powder that combines 18 highly nutritional ingredients such as blueberries, oats, sea buckthorn and nettles. The drink also contains 30 grams of protein.
"The Supermeal provides a balanced meal from high-quality ingredients – no matter where you are. It helps people to lead a healthy lifestyle and give 110 percent both physically and mentally."
Suoheimo mentions Ari Huusela, who single-handedly sailed across the Atlantic in 24 days and 13 hours, depending on Supermeals – among other foods – for nutrition.
Ambronite is involved in every stage of the production chain to getting the product to the customer's breakfast table or handbag. For example, the Supermeal drinks are produced in Vaasa and contain Finnish oats because, due to the northern soil, they are richer in nutrients than equivalents produced elsewhere in the world. The blueberries are picked by hand in Finnish Lapland.
"Transparency, traceability and product origin are important to us and our customers. These cannot be taken for granted in food production."
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Text: Kaiku Helsinki