Ten-year-old Verso Food is a company known in Finland for its Härkis-branded fava bean products. Launched in 2016, the products are an easy and sustainable replacement for meat. In September 2019 they launched their innovative fava bean pieces under the new Beanit brand. Both the product and the name are better suited for the international markets. In Finland, the well-known Härkis remains as a product name.
– All our products will soon be sold under the same Beanit brand. We renewed our whole brand and toyed with different name ideas. The name Beanit got chosen because it tells what our products are made of and the English name sounds familiar to consumers on many international markets, says Verso Food’s Chief Marketing Officer Annika Boström-Kumlin.
Easy to export, hard to copy
Härkis is made of crushed whole fava beans, whereas the Beanit fava bean pieces are based on finely ground fava beans. In the mouth, the texture of the fried bean chunks feels a lot like chicken and tastes quite neutral and a bit nutty. The bean pieces are much easier to export than Härkis since they can be stored and transported in larger vacuum packets in room temperature.
– Our products are difficult to make and also hard to copy. Our innovative strategy is to make the base of the product in Finland and let our partners on different markets finish the product for the consumers’ regionally specific tastes. Our partners can season the fava bean pieces, pack them and commercialise the product, Boström-Kumlin says.
Beanit products have many benefits: they are healthy, easy to cook, sustainable and – if you eat them instead of meat – an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
– The main thing is that Beanit products taste good. They are vegan and healthy, but the pleasure of eating is also important for us and the consumers. We are not primarily against eating meat. We are just promoting delicious plant-based food.
Intense growth for plant-based products
Verso Food’s commercial offices are in Espoo near Helsinki, but their new production plant is located in Kauhava, in Central Finland.
– The new plant was opened in April 2019, and it provides us with room to grow. Sustainability and responsible consumerism are big trends in the food industry today. We’re estimating intense growth for the plant-based products both in Finland and in Europe. Our biggest challenge in accelerating our international growth is that we need to build brand recognition.
Verso’s main markets are in Europe, mainly in the Nordic countries, the UK and Poland.
– We already export to Japan, and we are interested in several other European markets as well as the USA. We believe in our brilliant product development team and our excellent products, Boström-Kumlin concludes.