1. Description of Business
Rūta is one of the few companies established in Tsarist times in Lithuania. The confectionery factory makes more than 300 different brands of sweets: chocolates with various fillings, truffles, dragée, chocolate figurines, gummy candy and soufflés, sugar-free, organic, culinary-heritage produce, soft toffee, chocolates with different flavourings and condiments. Considering the changing needs of the buyers, new items are added to the range of products, the manufacturing technology gets improved, new, more varied raw materials are chosen, and new brands of sweets to cater both to the big and the small are created every year. The newly reborn Rūta prioritises on things that are natural and organic, and prefers Lithuanian raw materials. Lithuanian-grown strawberries, blackcurrants, sea buckwheat, pumpkins, and many more Lithuanian and exotic berries, fruits, and vegetables, as well as royal jelly and pollen, honey, and nuts at Rūta’s factory become the most delicious fillings or condiments to be used in black, white, or milk chocolates. Rūta also created functional food line GREENZ which is without added sugars, a good source of vegetable proteins, fibers, magnesium, vitamin D and contains 96 % of chocolate.
2. Description of Innovation
Both innovation and tradition are an integral part of Ruta, and innovation is an incentive for the company to stretch, move forward, as well as it is an attitude and a lifestyle. Innovation can occur anywhere, in any activity, in any process, leading to long-term success. Innovation is Ruta’s way.
Company’s innovation goal – we strive to remain the best in the market in our field, to offer our clients only high quality, innovative products. Innovation is a response to changing needs.
4. Actors and stakeholders
Company cooperation – clusters, state enterprises, laboratories, Institute of Horticulture, LAMMC, Vytautas Magnus University, Academy of Agriculture. We also carry out international projects “Eureka” and collaborated with Warsaw and Wroclaw universities. We have cooperated with MITA, LVPA, Innovation Center, Chamber of Crafts.
Our market position depends directly on how and how many innovative products we can offer. Rūta was the first to offer handmade chocolate kits representing Lithuania. At that time there were no such products. Rūta offered exclusive collections of candy such as “Lithuania”, “Amber Road”, “Tale of Čiurlionis Castle”, “Temptation of Grand Dukes” with national narratives inside. These sets represent Lithuania and make its name famous. It was a bold move to look back.
We are proud that we make candy for the Parliament, the Government and the Presidency. We also introduced a new line of candies, Greenz, which is a nut and fruit candy enriched with vitamins and micro elements.
There are currently four types of chocolate: white, milky, black and pink Ruby. We have created a box that contains all the candies with the same filling, so when you eat the candy you can enjoy and watch how different types of chocolate change the taste of chocolates. It was our soft educational innovation, using Ruby chocolate as news and innovatively presenting the box itself.
One of the first innovative technological solutions was when we purchased a device that dispenses both chocolate and filling in a liquid fraction at the same time. To our knowledge, nobody in Lithuania has such installation yet.
We develop about 50 new products a year. The number of new products remaining, and proven ratio is different, but we are constantly developing. With changes in packaging or composition, we would count even more on innovations.
The company currently employs about 245 people. About 800 kinds of sweets are produced. The main idea of the company is continuity and striving to keep its roots and traditions.
The company has withstood the challenges and has always stayed true to itself – never compromising on its traditions and goals – to produce good only high-quality chocolate, to make a sincere job and to innovate.
With the traditional 100-gram chocolate bars dominating the market, we are fighting for the buyer’s attention and “jazzing up” – making chocolate tools, chocolate pizza, chocolate crayons for kids. It is not just a chocolate bar; it is a product that gives a certain emotion and contains a “cartridge”.
Greenz’s idea was a change throughout the company. Because of this idea, we replaced the entire workshop that made traditional rolled candies. We stopped producing them and it was a challenge for ourselves. The market dictates fashion and the future of these candies promised nothing, as it was clear that the buyer would choose newer candies. When the state started to encourage businesses to abandon sugar and vegetable fats at the national level, we had already made the decision to abandon large quantities of products containing vegetable fats and sugar and focusing on healthier products. It is worth mentioning, however, that we did not do anything very new, because even in Soviet times the descriptions of sweets indicated what the product is worth and its properties. By no means was it marketing or innovation – just at the time there was a sense that the product had to be different. Finding a cheaper product has never worked, but it justifies the fact that we are just making a different product.
7. Obstacles & shortcomings
Maybe there would be changes to the equipment, maybe we would have looked for more options and made bigger bars. We would have expanded the capabilities of the equipment, but it is not too late to do so now.
We often over-criticize state institutions, but think too little about what we can do ourselves. We have been selected as winners in many projects, it would be wrong to criticize. We really get a lot of support. The work of state institutions is changing for the better, we get a lot of help from the new commercial attaché in the UK, Lithuanian Innovation Center, MITAS, Lithuanian Business Support Agency, universities.