This Team Finland visit to St. Paul-Minneapolis and its surrounding areas is a continuation on a strong partnership Finland and Minnesota started after signing a MoU in 2021. The visit will take place on 16-19 May 2023, and it is led by Mr. Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of Finland to the United States of America.
During this visit the delegation has the possibility to meet with state leadership, representatives of Fortune 500 companies, and top research institutions. The program consists of two tracks 1) decarbonization of industries and 2) innovative foods.
Minnesota governance has created an ambitious climate program for a carbon neutral future. Key industries the state looks to decarbonize include energy and environment, manufacturing, agriculture, and health. A common enabler is to leverage technology to boost industries and their efficiency. Recent Minnesotan legislation has been passed to require 100% carbon free energy by the year 2040. In addition the state is emerging as a powerhouse in plant protein research and a hub for major food companies. This is an opportune time for Finnish companies in cleantech, food & agriculture, and IoT to visit.
On the sectors of clean energy and digital technologies the program is set to include meetings with companies and institutions such as Ever-Green Energy, Xcel Energy, Clean Energy Economy Minnesota and 3M to address their decarbonization goals. Finnish companies will meet with manufacturers such as Hormel Foods and Cargill to address challenges on two fronts: energy and manufacturing efficiencies.
Despite its relatively modest population (5.7M, about the same as Finland), Minnesota is a hub for many major American food companies including Cargill, General Mills, Land O Lakes and Hormel Foods. It is also the home of many retailers, distributors, food manufacturers and food service players such as Target, Wicked Kitchen and Post Consumer Brands to name a few.
Minnesota and Finland not only share similar climate for cultivating crops, but they also share an interest in developing new, natural, and plant-based products in various grocery categories. It is an emerging US leader in plant protein research as well as upcycling processes to minimize food waste and creating new value-added products, something that has contributed to the founding of upcycled foods certification for the food industry. Many Minnesotan success stories are great examples of their tightknit and innovative agri-food ecosystem.
Through the Finland-Minnesota MoU, Finnish companies now have a unique opportunity to learn more about collaboration opportunities in the state of Minnesota and beyond. In June 2022 a delegation of Finnish food companies and scientists visited Minneapolis/St.Paul for the first time to meet local businesses and experts. As a result, Finland is now bringing their knowledge on plant proteins to Minnesota via a new collaboration between VTT and the Plant-protein Innovation Center (PPIC) at University of Minnesota. This year’s visit will offer a new opportunity to gain and increase market knowledge and learn how to access the US market. We invite you to get connected with our great network of Minnesotan companies, and to build and grow your own valuable network.
The food track is ideal for innovative ingredients businesses who are interested in partnership opportunities with Minnesotan companies and stakeholders. The visit program will focus on plant-based opportunities, upcycling processes and food service.
Companies specifically interested in food service have a possibility to extend their visit to the largest foodservice (horeca) trade show in the US, National Restaurant Association Show, in Chicago on 20-23 May. Please note that the exhibition registration fee is not included in the delegation fee.
Preliminary program for innovative foods track
The minimum number of companies participating in the innovative foods track is 5 companies.
Expenses of arranging the visit will be divided between the participating companies, and to cover those costs participation fee for the visit is:
Business Finland will invoice the participation fee after the visit based on the actual costs. The invoiced fee will note exceed the amounts mentioned above. Kindly note that the participation fee does not include flights or accommodation of the participant nor meals outside the business delegation program.