Fazer 12.09.2019

Fazer joins Combient Foundry! Interview with Sara Karvinen

Fazer has joined Combient Foundry and right away has embarked on an ambitious Joint Venture Client case. Freshbar is being developed in collaboration with Stora Enso and the potential startup partners. From Fazer, Sara Karvinen is heading the project with Fazer Lab behind her.

Sara Karvinen is the Senior Manager in Fazer Lab’s New Business and Open Innovation team. Her team is the main muscle in Fazer’s startup collaboration efforts. 

“I have worked with Fazer Lab for 8 years now,” Sara says. “Fazer Lab’s goal is to find and develop new business models for Fazer core products.”

The team works on research and of course, new business development. The team’s background is impressive, to say the least.

“About 50% of our research team are PhDs, with one currently writing their dissertation,” Sara continues. 

Fazer is a New Combient Company too

Fazer fully joined Combient this past summer, becoming the seventh Finnish company in the 30-strong alliance. Beyond having a new Nordic global force in the group, Combient is sure to benefit from Fazer’s experience in open innovation.

 “Our first ambitions are sharing our experiences and learning of other companies’ best practices,” Sara explains. “We are also mapping out some benchmarking information in regards to internal open innovation insights or even internal ventures.”

In the field of startup collaboration, Fazer Labs is no stranger. For many years, the Fazer Innovation Challenge has sought for startups in food tech who would be able to support the core business.

“In our most recent program, we found six startups to partner with and are moving forward on new projects with them, individually,” Sara describes the results.

Participation in the Venture Client Cycle

“With Combient Foundry, we are eager to have fast-track access to the latest and most relevant innovative solutions globally,” Sara elaborates on Fazer’s Combient activities. “These might be the newest, healthiest snacking products entering the market, or completely out-of-the-box ideas that we might not come up with internally by ourselves.

Partnering with Stora Enso, a renewable materials company is an exceptional fit for Freshbar. As the solutions being searched for cover the entire supply chain, having experts from the food industry and packaging solutions guarantees startups have the best of the best among whom to turn to. 

Stora Enso’s expertise in recyclable and renewable RFID tags is one of their retail space innovations. With advanced supply and logistics tracking this technology enables, their ambition is to enable the freshness for Freshbar products. All this of course, with sustainability at the core.

Tips for Freshbar Submissions

Fazer wants to create Freshbar as a new, iconic concept, with the customer experience at its core. Solutions that the teams are interested in are not limited in the practical systems, but engaging end-consumers will shine through too. 

“We want to find one thing most of all: help us see how you will be part of creating a seamless and personalized customer experience,” Sara says when asked if the team has any tips for the applying startups. “We want customers coming back to Freshbar again and again. Let us know how your solution will do this, without sacrificing sustainability or compromising on the experience!”

The Freshbar Venture Client Opportunity is no longer open. See the ongoing Venture Client Opportunities on our Opportunities page.