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."
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:
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."
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 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.