Creative, impactful and collaborative food and beverage ventures

DesignBites investigates the co-creation and experimentation practices, networks and collaborations with diverse stakeholders, and design work of food and beverage ventures amidst their internationalisation efforts. Our aim is to share insights and support entrepreneurs in their development efforts towards better (and sustainable) business and products, inspire new people to get involved in the food and beverage industry, as well as create academic and practical publications. Check our toolkits for experimentation (available in Finnish, too) and scroll down for research insights, case examples and our podcast and publications!

The launch of the project in 2018-2020 has been funded by Antti and Jenny Wihuri Foundation and 2020 with the help of Business Finland Corona Co-creation funding. We’ve focused on Finnish ventures, tracking the development activities of over 50 companies ranging from premium food and drinks with local ingredients to creating new markets and consumption patterns. Currently we are deepening our understanding of the creative responses and experiments entrepreneurs and their stakeholders are engaging in the face of the pandemic!

Want to get in on the action? To get started on the practical side of co-developing new offering and operations, take a look at our stakeholder mapping, ideation and experimentation toolkits! And follow us for current insights, participate in our open collaborative events and get in touch to join the project!



Learnings from collaboration in times of calm & crisis

Within 72 entrepreneur interviews, 37 DesignBites case companies reported 606 interactions with stakeholders outside of their company when describing their development efforts – we’ve analyzed what these reflect on during-crisis collaboration.

Experimenting during the pandemic

CREATIVE RESPONSES OF FINNISH FOOD VENTURES AMIDST THE CRISIS Based on interviews from 24 Finnish food ventures and 844 Covid-19 related Instagram posts in March-May 2020 from 66 Finnish food ventures, we found that many companies were active experimenters right away when the pandemic hit. While the social media posts consisted mostly of communications and

The food industry at large

INGREDIENTS OF THE FINNISH FOOD INDUSTRY Interviewing 16 different types of food industry players, including suppliers, investors, cafes, restaurants, and retail chains, draws a picture of an industry with long traditions yet undergoing large transformation resulting from innovations in how we design, produce, choose, deliver and enjoy food. The industry players brought up a large


Together we stand – joining forces to advance the industry as a whole

Operating in the same market does not always make competitors. Despite the alcoholic beverages industry being heavily restricted by laws and regulations, it is also an industry with a lot of cooperation going on between different players. Especially the field of craft beer has a myriad of informal collaborating amongst small breweries – competitors in

Saving the ‘little ones’ & our oceans

Cabbage farmers with passion to innovate and work with various projects involving farming, nature, bees and handcraft, Sugar Daddies Co. based in Iso-Kyrö is a good case where linked missions influence business actions, strategy and decision making. Conveyed through for example in their company story, establishment of a foundation for saving the bees (Sugar Daddies

From business chemistry to perfecting food chemistry

Collaboration and co-creation between companies can spark new ideas, products and ways forward. Restaurants and their chefs have been one of the most active development collaborators of packaged food and beverage entrepreneurs, testing products as well as coming up with new ideas. One example of product co-creation in venture-restaurant partnership can be found between Michelin-star


Test Kitchen ep 6: What are the challenges and possibilities in developing children’s foods?

In this episode our DesignBites researcher Erika Perttunen discusses with Milla Westerling from Green Planet Astronauts and Sofia Laurell from Tiny Organics about developing healthy and plant-based children’s foods. How to develop and market them ethically? What experimentations and collaboration have they done and why are they motivated to change the world through children’s foods?

Test Kitchen ep 5: How to make illegal legal?

Introducing new food products is always challenging let alone when the new food has no ready market and is still considered illegal by legislation. Our fifth episode explores markets which are at the moment considered illegal in some parts of the world and how product development can still take place in these circumstances. Ysub is

Test Kitchen ep 4: How can a pandemic spur creativity in product development?

Our fourth episode we explore how the current global, even historic, pandemic has effected on some of our case companies locally here in Finland. We have interviewed so far four collaborators and picked their insights on how to navigate a business as well as its services and products through crisis. Hope this helps you to



‘Behind the Scenes of Co-creating the Future of Food’ publication by DesignBites researchers, photographer – designer duo Maria Talvinko & Anna Kuukka presents a glimpse into the Finnish food and beverage scene and entrepreneurship on the front lines. The photographic documentary takes a peek at the backstage activities of the brands, showcasing how the companies


Ever wonder about what the state of Finnish food and beverage entrepreneurship is? Well, we did, interviewing 90+ entrepreneurs, wading through piles of statistics and keeping an eye on ventures’ online presence. Based on this, we’ve compiled a very palatable package of insights!


Learn about experimentation, co-creation, product development, the role of design amongst other topics from our study of Finnish food and beverage entrepreneurs. We’ve compiled interesting case examples and learnings in this document for everyone to look into.


  • Tua Björklund DF Co-Director, Assistant Professor
    +358 50 511 3182

  • Teo Keipi Postdoc researcher
    +358 50 476 3733

  • Floris van der Marel Researcher

  • Anna Kuukka Design Coordinator
    +358 50 537 2664

Tua BjörklundDesignBites