What kind of food innovations are performed, which initiatives take place and who are the innovation stakeholders in Lithuania? A closer look at this topic was taken in June 2019, when the EU Interreg project “South Baltic Food Innovation” moved a part of activities to Lithuania.
Project partners from University College Absalon and Lund University invited several food sector companies to the meeting in Kaunas: Ingredientas (paslaugos žemdirbiams), UrbanFood, InnoFoods – Avoo, Ekofrisa, Healthy Choice and Ekoproduktas. The meeting took place in Santaka Valley in Kaunas, where project associated partner Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) hosted event. Here, in the workshops, enterprises took a different look at their activities, introduced their food innovation experiences and discussed opportunities and limitations of innovations with other companies. Meetings of this kind are innovative in themselves, as companies can share their experiences, contacts and suggestions without competing with each other, which in turn can be a real breakthrough in innovation.
The companies also had the opportunity to express the need for relevant knowledge, which is essential and would help to create and implement innovations in their enterprises. It was mentioned topics such as export markets and regulations, alternative to plastics packaging, food sector events and good cases.
Nevertheless, project group also met food innovation policy actors: representatives from KTU, Innovation Centers, Ministries, Clusters and Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts. These stakeholders presented the activities and results of institutions and assisting enterprises in the development and implementation of food innovations.
Another partner from the University of Copenhagen also contributed to the project activities by going to Lithuania and conducting three in-depth interviews with food companies in Telšiai and Šiauliai counties: Satrijos legenda, Kontena and Ruta. The purpose of these meetings was to find out, how innovation is perceived by small and medium-sized enterprises in the region, what activities and projects they are undertaking, and what opportunities or challenges companies are facing while implementing innovation. You can read more about these meetings here.
Taking into account the needs expressed by companies in June-August in Lithuania for topical issues and the competencies of innovation actors, the project team has prepared an interesting program for the second in Lithuania two-part event on the 19th of September in Kaunas with the topic ”Food Innovation in Lithuania”. The first part is a Food Innovation Council meeting, which brings together national and project region food sector stakeholders and innovation policy actors. On a dynamic workshop it will be created and discussed a landscape of food innovation stakeholders in Lithuania. Meanwhile, in the second part, Food Innovation in Lithuania – a Toolbox Seminar, beside from SME in the regional food sector, cluster organizations and authorities are also invited for cross sector and -level dialogues, inspirations and discussions. The seminar beside of workshop with Canvas model with focus on innovations will include presentations on Lithuanian export experience and trends, packaging innovations, presentations of good cases and project results. More information about the seminar and registration can be found here.