Silmusalaatti – sprouting goodness!
Case - Published 8.12.2016
Organic agriculture in Helsinki region without subsidies, fertilisers, pesticides or land to cultivate! How is it even possible – the answer is found in a basement in Vantaa, Finland. Organic farmer Samuli Laurikainen is the creator of Silmusalaatti (Sprout salad) who has turned the traditional rules of agriculture on their head.
Silmusalaatti products are cultivated from clean and tested seeds and the fresh water of lake Päijänne. The production itself is very energy-efficient and relies solely on wind energy. The production of sprouts is highly efficient and they are harvested only a few days after sowing. That makes 150 yields per year.
The Silmusalaatti products are always safe and clean since they are cultivated without fertilisers or pesticides. The cultivation space’s air enters through an efficient filtering system impenetrable by bacteria. The space is also over-pressured to prevent any air leakages. Combine this with the rapid growing phase of the sprouts and there is no need for pesticides in the production. The basement space is also free of weed seeds and pest eggs. The sprouts get all their growing energy from the seed, so no fertilisers are needed. The growth only requires water and an appropriate clean space with technical cultivation solutions.
Strictly controlled production
Silmusalaatti grows under carefully controlled conditions. A computer monitors e.g. the air and water temperature, humidity and water flow rate, as well as the mechanical stress of seeds. During cultivation, the sprouts are flushed over a hundred times. Finally the sprouts go through light treatment before they are ready to be delivered to consumers.
Titillating flavours and distinctive branding
The creator of Silmusalaatti, Mr Samuli Laurikainen, knew from an early age that he would grow up to be a farmer and an entrepreneur. After finishing his studies and a number of business ideas later Laurikainen didn’t become a farmer, but an organic farmer, who doesn’t need a single acre of land.
The cultivated seeds are from familiar plants such as alfalfa, peas, lentils, clover, broccoli and radish. The innovation lies in the carefully selected varieties that are refined into interesting and taste bud titillating flavour combinations.
Silmusalaatti has focused on commercialisation and branding particularly. The memorable product names and convenient packaging have made their way to many Finnish dinner tables. The large food retail chains and the quality restaurants have taken Silmusalaatti into their selections. At the moment a large part of the harvest stays within the Helsinki region so the products hit the shops fresh and with low transport emissions. As a market, Finland is quite small, but the success in the home markets proves that the concept actually works.
Snafu Ltd is the organisation behind Silmusalaatti. The business concept of Snafu has been built to be scalable from the start. The systematic operation is aiming for constant improvements of the concept. By investing in quality, branding and differentiation Snafu have been able to double its turnover every year and achieve a position that is unusually good within the field.
Focus on core competencies
The company’s extremely simple management model is reflected in the title of all employees: they are all Organic Farmers. Everyone is also responsible for customer service. The company focuses on its core competencies and rely on partnerships elsewhere.
Silmusalaatti is the 2016 Kasvu Open finalist. Kasvu Open is the largest contest for sparring “eager to grow”-companies with growth experts in Finland.
Samuli Laurikainen, CEO, Snafu Ltd. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +358 (0)50 412 4500
Written by Harri Välimäki, Development Director of Joensuu Science Park.
Published Nov 22, 2016