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Case 22.06.2021

The Arctic flavors of Taiga Chocolate are charming customers around the world

In addition to an excellent product, international expansion requires a great deal of hard work, persistence, and a little luck. Taiga Chocolate presents its recipe for export success.
Taiga Chocolate
  • Established in Vaasa in the summer of 2018, the company sells handmade chocolate. It was founded by five women from Vaasa and the Helsinki region.
  • Taiga chocolate is currently available from around 150 retailers in Finland and from the company's online store. Internationally, Taiga is sold in Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
  • Business Finland has provided the company with Tempo funding for international expansion, in addition to opportunities to participate in seminars, webinars and coaching sessions and benefit from useful contacts.
  • The company is participating in Business Finland's Food from Finland program.

Taiga Chocolate

Taiga's chocolate is made by hand from scratch. Flavors from two categories are sprinkled into dark chocolate: berries or more exotic alternatives. The berries are freeze-dried and thus healthy: lingonberry, blueberry, sea buckthorn, raspberry and cranberry. The extreme flavors are fish, reindeer and crickets.

"The fish we use is European smelt, a small inland water fish with white meat. Both our fish and reindeer chocolate are unique in the world."

"Business Finland works like training wheels"

From the outset, it was clear to the business owners that there are export markets for their high-quality handmade product. Taiga has received support for international expansion from Business Finland: Tempo funding helped the company with international growth, and one month after its establishment, Taiga's chocolate was showcased in the Food from Finland department at a trade fair in Hong Kong.

The business owners have also participated in Business Finland's seminars, webinars and coaching sessions.

Lili Lehtovuori, who is responsible for identifying market opportunities in the food industry at Business Finland, has helped Taiga promote its products to chefs on superyachts who are looking for prime quality and originality.

Business Finland helps its customers in three ways:

  1. Identifying market opportunities
  2. Providing advice on international expansion and contacts
  3. Providing funding for international expansion and innovation.

Food from Finland program serves food and beverage companies in particular.

"For a start-up, Business Finland is like a set of training wheels. It makes the road to international markets a little easier," says Mirja Palola, CEO of Taiga.

"Currently, Business Finland is promoting our chocolate to luxury cruise ships. Arctic flavors from the north are perfect for superyachts, on which only prime quality will do."

Palola's recipe for international growth

Mirja Palola is building a successful export business in the following ways:
  1. A fine-tuned product that stands out from the competition
  2. An expert team
  3. Funding
  4. Market surveys and insight
  5. Networks

A company must also have courage and an open mind. Opportunities must be studied carefully before entering a new market: is there room for us?

"The chocolate market is saturated in Europe, for example. In Asia, however, chocolate consumption is still low but is growing rapidly."

The pandemic gave time to online store development

The coronavirus pandemic hit Taiga in the middle of its successful export project.
"In the beginning, the pandemic had the strongest impact on our export markets, such as Hong Kong and Italy. We have to start our export efforts and brand creation from the beginning in these countries. On the other hand, we now know what it takes to gain a foothold."

During the pandemic, Taiga Chocolate focused on further developing its online store and selling chocolate to companies.

"Now we are waiting for the world to open, so we can export luxury chocolate to a growing number of people," says Mirja Palola.

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