NOVELBALTIC
MARKET DRIVEN AUTHENTIC NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCTS FROM THE BALTIC SEA REGION

– wild and semi-cultivated species with business potential

Introduction

Due to increasing and ageing of population and the rise of health and environmental awareness of consumers, non-timber forest products (NTFP) business is a mega trend globally. Nordic health and well-being business were 12.1 billion € in 2016 and it is expected to grow to 36 billion € according to the Natural Products Scandinavia newsletter 2017.

The EU 2020 strategy promotes smart and sustainable growth. The development of Baltic NTFP, such as health promoting food and bio-based cosmetics, create job opportunities in rural areas since manufacturing of these products is economically most efficient close to the forests and farmlands. The opportunity to increase export of NTFP to Chinese and Asian market would contribute the growth and jobs in the Baltic countries.

NovelBaltic

NovelBaltic is a funded research project designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from NTFP industry to improve their business opportunities. The objective is to enhance the market uptake of NTFP innovations based on improved research and development (R&D) infra related to authenticity and quality testing and enhanced utilization of the R&D capacity. The goal is to review the market demand for NTFP in selected regions in China and Asia and to evaluate the feasibility of selected business opportunities through techno-economic calculations.

Due to the global competition, fake NTFP products can be found. To help the real and reliable Baltic NTFP business to grow, it is important to show proofs of authentic raw materials and products. Methods are needed by SMEs to provide verification of authenticity of NTFP. Methods based on the analysis of chemical compounds, susceptible to changes by environmental factors, are generally used in the authentication of plant material. But today, DNA methods are more accurate, easily applied and of interest compared to analysis of chemical compounds. Nuclear and chloroplast genome-based sequencing can be utilized for quick pinpointing of raw material/product origin in species at specific manner.

Enterprises need methods for product quality and safety monitoring to convince purchasing and consumers, that the quality of the products is consistent and traceable. The quality demonstration and authenticity method results, could be used by SMEs as proof of quality and premium products. To make this possible, capacity of the NTFP research and development infra related to authenticity and quality testing and the utilization of the infra will be enhanced in NovelBaltic. Authenticity and quality testing will also be made available to SMEs through a digital platform. Through the platform, SMEs can purchase analysis for raw materials and products and contact institutes for assistance.

Also, the feasibility of selected NTFP production technologies and the required production volumes will be calculated to help SMEs planning their businesses. In this way, NovelBaltic can help NTFP enterprises to grow, as more NTFP raw materials can be refined locally into high quality authentic products, which can create more job opportunities.

Summary

NovelBaltic helps to improve NTFP business opportunities in the Baltic Sea region and market uptake of NTFP innovations in selected areas of China and Asia due to the utilization of the developed authenticity and quality methods. And as a part of this, the NovelBaltic platform was created.

Please click here to find more about NovelBaltic-project.

Total budget:  EUR 1.9 million
European Regional Development Fund: EUR 1.4 million
Norwegian Funding: EUR 0.06 million

Project duration:
1/2019 – 6/2021

The lead partner of NovelBaltic:
University of Oulu.

Other project partners are from five Baltic Sea Region countries.

Estonia:
Tartu Science Park

Finland:
Aalto University
Centria University of Applied Sciences
The Finnish Forest Centre

Latvia:
SilvExpo
University of Latvia

Lithuania:
Food Institute of Kaunas University of Technology
Lithuanian Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry/Institute of Horiculture

Norway:
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research