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LATVIAN HIGH ADDED VALUE AND HEALTHY FOOD CLUSTER

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General Information
The date when the cluster organisation was established: 
Tuesday, 5 January, 2010
Number of staff in the management team of the cluster organisation : 
1-5
Regions: 
Latvija
Cluster Excellence Label: 
Bronze Label
Membership to other networks/partnerships: 
NameWebsite
BSR Food Cluster Network around the Baltic Sea
Five for Cross-industry Value Chain Excellence
Cluster Management Team: 
NameSurnamePositionTelephoneEmail
Jānis
Garančs
Cluster Manager
+371 29423847
janis.garancs@culinar.lv
Kristaps
Ročāns
Internationalisation Responsible
+371 29753011
kristaps.rocans@vidzeme.lv
Aigars
Ruņģis
+371 29482590
aigars@valmiermuiza.lv
Alise
Balgalve
+371 26824168
alise@musli.lv
Arta
Kronberga
+371 26162194
arta.kronberga@arei.lv
Languages spoken: 
English
Latvian
Russian
Sectoral and Industrial Focus
Sectoral Industries: 
Food Processing and Manufacturing
Technology fields: 
Drink Technology
Food Processing
S3 EU priority areas: 
Food, beverage & tobacco products
Food security & safety
Emerging industries: 
Advanced Packaging
Environmental Industries
Areas of specialisation of the cluster not covered above: 
Organic food and beverage production and processing, gourmet food and beverages.
Composition of the cluster
Total number of members: 
31
Number of SME members: 
22
Number of larger company members: 
1
Number of research organisations/universities/technology centres: 
4
Number of other ecosystem actors : 
4
Entrepreneurship and scale-up support facilities in the cluster's ecosystem (see "Organisation type"): 
Name and link of major players: 
NameWebsiteType
Ltd. ALOJA-STARKELSEN
Larger Company
Vidzeme Planning Region
Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics
Research Organisation
Ltd. Valmiermuizas alus
SME
Ltd. Felici
SME
Ltd. Konso
SME
Ltd. Lat Eko Food
SME
Ltd. Very Berry
SME
Ltd. Dimdiņi
SME
Ltd. Skriveru Saldumi
SME
Ltd. Ramkalni Nordeco
SME
Institute for Environmental Solutions
Research Organisation
Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences
University
Cluster Strategy
Mission/Objectives: 

LATVIAN HIGH ADDED VALUE AND HEALTHY FOOD CLUSTER  is a  Registered membership association, one of the most developed and internationally active food industry clusters in the Baltic countries. The objective of the cluster is to facilitate the development and market uptake of high value added and healthy food & beverages products, to promote knowledge and technology transfer between cluster members, to develop and implement  new projects and to helps cluster members to internationalize their activities and find business partnerships abroad. Cluster members are companies focusing on healthy, high value added, organic and gourmet food and beverages production, public support organizations, R&D institutions focusing on bio-technology areas.

 Main priority focus areas of the cluster are: 

  • Product and technology development; 
  • Export promotion; 
  • Networking, training and knowledge transfer;
  • Internationalization

Cluster is based in Latvia, and is cooperating with other partner clusters in Latvia and other European countries. 

Do you have a formalised strategy?: 
Yes
Do you have a specific strategy focus that addresses internationalisation ?: 
Yes
Services
Support services provided: 
Access to the European Internal market
Internationalisation support (= Access to third countries markets)
Facilitation of collaboration between members
Facilitation of cross-sectorial cooperation
Innovation Management / Support of innovation processes (internal, external)
Cooperation Activities
International Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
Republic of Korea (South Korea)
United States
Trans-national Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Sweden
Our cluster organisation undertook the following trans-national activities to support our members: 
Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs
Please explain: 

Cluster members have participated in study visits/training visits/ to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland, France, Germany 

Which clusters do you collaborate with?: 
Ideon Agro Food, Sweden
FoodNetwork, Denmark
Packbridge, Sweden
Foodwest, Finland
Danish Food cluster, Denmark
Food Regio, Germany
Net Port, Sweden
Latvian IT cluster, Latvia
Latvian logistics cluster, Latvia
Estonian IT cluster, Estonia
Support Programmes
Participation in Funded Support Programmes: 
European ProgrammesProject Name
CIP/COSME
INTERREG
Other
  • Associated partner in  project "Rural RDI milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems (RDI2CluB), Interreg BSR 2014.-2020. programme  http://www.rdi2club.eu/
  • BSR Innovation express project "Cross-sectorial collaboration for efficient and sustainable food value chains in Baltic Sea Region (Pack & Food Baltic)
  • COSME programme project "Five for Cross-industry Value Chain Excellence" (5FOREXCELLENCE), represented by the  Vidzeme Planning Region; https://www.clustercollaboration.eu/eu-initiatives/cluster-excellence/5forexcellence-five-cross-industry-value-chain
  • BSR Innovation express project «Enhancing market competitiveness in food SME’s-new methodologies and better interaction (EMCF)
  • Leonardo da Vinci programme project: «Vidzeme ecologic beverage manufacturers' internship in France» (represented by Vidzeme Planning Region)
Promotion
Success Story / Achievements: 
  • Cluster participation in BSR Innovation express project «Enhancing market competitiveness in food SME’s-new methodologies and better interaction (EMCF)» in November 2015.

Project partners: Food Network (DK), Ideon Agro Food (SE), Latvian high added value and healthy food cluster (LV). Food and drink manufacturers from 3 cluster companies – Valmiermuiža beer, Very Berry juices and Felici muesli, and a cluster facilitator participated in the project and had an opportunity to learn about Danish and Swedish food market and to explore Danish and Swedish experience in product development, positioning and product advancement to gain new ideas for new products. Latvian food and drink professionals worked on new taste and product development together with professional chefs and experts in areas of taste, consumer experience, beverages and gastronomy. In the facilities of Agro Tech Foodture lab (DK), companies were able to attend joint meetings and product presentations with similar profile companies from Denmark and Sweden, work in international groups and develop new product concepts and also present them and get a valuable feedback from chefs, experts and other companies from Denmark and Sweden. Gained knowledge, contacts, experience and inspirations are already put to good use in all participating companies, after the Project. Companies have started the development of new, innovative taste solutions for their products, and are considering several options about new product development in the future. Collaboration with Agro Tech and Ideon Agro food has been strong already before, and this particular Project showed that such collaboration is very beneficial for food SME’s and allows them to tap into new knowledge and expertise that can greatly help them advance their competitiveness.

 

     The participation in the project has created an ongoing collaboration among several cluster companies and experts from Nordic countries, and the project itself has proved to be of great value to the cluster companies, and  has received a great feedback from participants, especially from company “Verry Berry”:

«The presentations held in Foodture Lab gave us a good insight in the tendencies of the Danish and Swedish markets that helped us to understand several new product lines that we could produce in the nearest future. We were introduced with scientists researching the same products that we work with, with the possibilities that they can offer us. We also have already consulted one of them and received an immeasurable advice that otherwise would cost us a lot of money. We have offered also our plantation to them as a field of tests in case they would be working with any of the cultures we grow.

We worked in a Foodture Lab, where we invented new products, analysed their potential and at the moment our company is working closely with scientists in Estonia to start producing a unique product of functional food that is already available, but we are working on techniques that might lower the product price as well as help us to convert food waste into a meaningful product. We got to know other Danish and Swedish companies that work in the same type of business as we do. Even today, we are communicating with some of them in the means of exchange of experience. The experience in the project for us was meaningful and we are trying to take all that experience and turn it into new products.

Ilze Sauskina, Marketing Manager, Very Berry

  • Cluster and  four  its companies (Valmiermuiža beer, Very Berry juices, Smiltene Cider brewery, Valmiera organize -  pumpkin processers)  were  involved in Leonardo da Vinci programme project: «Vidzeme ecologic beverage manufacturers' internship in France» (October 2013) .

Project was implemented in cooperation with the General Council of Lower Rhine, France. In preparing for the internship, the participants learned the basics of French language and improved their knowledge of French culture in order to be well prepared for their 2 weeks stay in France – a week in Alsace region where they specialized in juice making methods and a week in Normandy region where they studied cider brewing techniques. That gave the participants a good insight in the French ecological drink market and the French consumer preferences. Company representatives learned new technologies of cider and juice production from French companies, established new business contacts, visited several factories and met representatives from various industry associations. The acquired knowledge  was afterwards presented to  other cluster companies in a joint workshop, and it has been put to continuous  use in several companies. For example Ltd. Smiltenes sidra darītava – Cider brewery, started implementing new production methods -  the Normandy’s cider method has been tried on new harvests after the project. Ltd. Very Berry started  planning to develop a new export product line. The internship has encouraged discussions inside the food cluster on the necessity of a larger involvement from the researchers in order to improve the product quality especially in the berry and fruit areas. This project fostered the establishment of internal working group in the cluster for drinks manufacturers, and involved several discussions among companies and researchers from two Latvian universities and institutes.

After the project, companies have used gained knowledge to  developed and launch into market several new products  - beverages, using gained know how from France. Product lines are still being developed and new types of beverages have been launched into market in 2015, and 2016.   One particular product  line is the distilled beer (Degalus), produced by the Valmiermuiža brewery. Distilled beer is a unique product in Latvia, and is a high end product, aimed at the restaurants. The product is being developed and marketed as a Latvian high quality alternative to Calvados or Grappa. The investments for this new product line (development of recipes and specified production machinery) amounted for 50 000 EUR in 2015. The product was also awarded a best packaging brand award by the Latvian packaging association in 2015. Several new variations of the distilled beer are planned for autumn and winter seasons of 2016 and 2017.

  • Cluster board member companies recognized by the Swedish business Awards 

All three companies forming the board of the cluster (Aloja Starkelsen, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Felici) have been among Swedish Business awards finalists  granting cluster a wide recognition as a successful network of competitive and growing companies. Swedish business awards is an initiative coordinated by the Swedish embassies, Business Sweden, National governments and investment agencies, and high calibre companies such as Volvo, Ericson etc. It is a high level event that recognizes the business development success stories in Baltic countries.  The Swedish business awards is an annual event (2016 marks its  8th year) that takes place each year in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The event serves as an annual platform for discussions and a source of ideas and inspiration for entrepreneurship, sustainable business as well as responsibility towards environment and society. The cluster is annually nominating its member companies for the award, and is currently the only cluster in Latvia, that has all key board companies of the cluster, as a finalists of this respectable award.  Participation of cluster and companies In the event, and recognition award to cluster companies, have helped them establish closer cooperation with other companies and organisations, such as Swedish trade and investment council and Swedish chamber of commerce, and has also created larger brand recognition of the cluster and its companies, especially in Sweden, which is one of the top target markets of cluster and is the country with which several cooperation projects and initiatives have been developed for the cluster since 2011.  

  • In October 2012, Vidzeme Food Cluster  received a training course on cluster development from one of the world’s leading experts in the field: Mr. Ifor Ffowcs Williams (CEO of „Cluster Navigators”) and cluster development is constantly following his „5 stage, 12 step „ cluster development process formula.
Why should partners choose you for cooperation?: 
  • Latvian high added value and healthy food cluster is one of the most developed and internationally active food industry clusters in the Baltics;
  • Cluster has experience in developing and participating in several international projects with other clusters in Europe;
  • Cluster is interested to develop joint projects in the areas of food innovation, food waste to value, food packaging and design, gourmet tourism.