Finding the market needs
ULMARA is a research-to-business project funded by Business Finland. The project is operated in cooperation with LAB University of Applied Sciences and LUT University.
The project aims to create a new and modern way of customising flavours using ultrasound-assisted extraction technology from fresh and healthy ingredients such as berries, fruits, and herbs. As a result, ultrasound-assisted technology is built and tested in the context of specific customer segment needs based on the market study. The results are exploited for a commercial concept. (LAB University of Applied Sciences 2023.)
Acquiring market knowledge of the food industry
Market knowledge of food preparation processes and customer demands for the benefits of new technology is the base of the commercial concept.
Several companies in the food sector have been directly approached to explore the voice of the market needs. Companies outside the network have been encountered in the fairs relative to food. These encounters have resulted in discussions on the usability and effortlessness of the extraction process of the new technology.
The need for green, energy-saving technology and the quality of an extract is undeniable by the market. The need for familiar and pure flavours, light processes, and cost-saving are strongly linked to the current megatrends of food processing and consumption (Orpana & Pajari 2023). However, the food industry covers many operating businesses with different starting points.
One fits all solution – doesn’t fit anyone
The companies operate in a vast market and share different needs regarding the benefits of the technology or the concept. Due to its size, plenty of opportunities are yet to discover on the market.
The need for companies is best illustrated by the level of using the extraction part of their processes. Companies actively using extraction to strengthen old flavours or create new ones emphasise the swiftness of the extraction process. Companies that use industrially produced extracts are keener on the cost-driven idea of making extracts on themselves. Both ends are equally interested in the possibilities of ultrasound extraction.
The most exciting market focuses on the high-end. In the high-end market, companies widely use extraction in food and drinks. For these companies, taste, quality, and colour are competitive advantages that strengthen the idea of food being an experience. Benefits are seen in the flexibility to use pure raw materials and the possibility of signature taste experiences.
Inside the high-end market are niche markets like airline catering. A significant share of the catering provides standard food, but part concentrates on the high-end market. It’s low on competition and urges to deliver flavours that are difficult to produce within the operating environment. A total size of 12,8 billion USD makes it an exciting option for ULMARA to explore.
Taina Orpana is a Senior Lecturer at LAB University of Applied Sciences and part of the LAB commercialization team.
Ketut Subiyanto. 2020. Business meeting. Pexels. Cited 19 Jun 2023. Available at https://www.pexels.com/fi-fi/kuva/liikemies-ihmiset-toimisto-toissa-4623506/
LAB. 2023. ULMARA – Ultrasound Based Taste Relishes to Restaurant Kitchen. Project. Cited 19 Jun 2023. Available at https://lab.fi/en/project/ULMARA
Orpana, T. & Pajari, I. 2023. ULMARA – Ultrasound based taste relishes to restaurant kitchen, part 1: Overview of ULMARA. LAB Focus. Cited 19 Jun 2023. Available at https://blogit.lab.fi/labfocus/en/ulmara-ultrasound-based-taste-relishes-to-restaurant-kitchen-part-1/