The Finnish summer condenses all that is good into a short period of time. Amongst other things, the warmer months ripen a delicious harvest of berries housed in one of the cleanest forests in the world. These natural creations are full of nutrient-rich, appetising square meal fragments that can be gathered for free, if one dares to step out in the wild.
Now everyone are able to enjoy these Nordic delights just as they were picked.
Roberts, a family enterprise based in Turku for the past 106 years, has pioneered the next generation line of high-quality berry products. The company has come up with a way to refine whole natural Nordic berries into a delicious “shot” that keeps at room temperature.
“The great innovation behind all this is the standardisation of the berries,” says company CEO Mikko Roberts. “By standardisation, I mean that we can, for example, guarantee the conservation of bilberries for eight months. Thereby, the availability of berries is constant and we are not dependent on the harvest or location.”
This means that consumers can enjoy their servings of daily berries with ease wherever and whenever they like.
A berry saved is a berry gained
Roberts Berrie distinguishes itself from the pack by utilising the whole berry during the drink-making process.
“For us, it used to be a challenge to convey to people the understanding of what we are doing,” Roberts explains. “We are selling the daily berries, not just some juice or smoothie. As we are using the whole berries, our product includes all the skins and seeds. It is a real deal.”
And, what is the reason for this? It’s simple: most of the healthy polyphenol compounds are found in the skin and seeds of berries.
The origins of this nutrient-packed berry innovation dates back to last decade.
“Today, the health impact of berries is universal knowledge,” Roberts tells. “The first Berrie products were refined a couple of years ago, while we continued to develop jams and other products. Since then, we have further advanced the recipe, brand, packaging etc. The progress has been intensive.”
Roberts Berrie is now comprised of three product families. One is for children, another a variety of berry-based delicacies, and thirdly Berrie+, which has different functional purposes, such as a protein boost.
“A 100 millilitre cup of our Wild Bilberry product contains the equivalent of 139 bilberries and other ingredients such as sweetening apple extract, citrus fibre and lemon juice, to balance the taste without losing the healthfulness,” Roberts clarifies. “There is no added white sugar.”
It’s the berries
The Berrie range represents the latest feather in the cap for the Roberts’ century in the food business. Earlier, the company was focused on business-to-business dealings, mostly in the domestic market, producing jams, marmalades and fillings for Finnish retailers, baking professionals and Horeca industries and customers abroad.
The traditional family enterprise has an annual turnover of around 10 million euros and manufactures all of their products at its own plant in Turku.
Roberts is now undergoing a transformation process, as it is reaches the shores of the international market and consumers. “I would say these are the biggest changes that a company can experience,” says Roberts.
Roberts Berrie already has a foothold in USA and China and orders on its online store are growing in number, especially in Europe. The company has achieved much international recognition for its innovations, and the products have even been featured in a Super Bowl ad.
“We have achieved worldwide visibility in recent months without targeting our advertising,” Roberts explains. “We do not specify our products to any demographic target group. Berrie products are designed for anyone who are interested in nutrition and wants to take care of their health.”
As Finland is considered the world leader in the development of functional and health-enhancing foods, it is also a cradle for many naturally nutrition-rich food products. The bright, yet short, northern summer here provides this great variety of superfoods from the forest, which, for us Finns, are simply known as just ‘daily berries’.