At the core of the Food Development Cluster Programme are five Centres of Expertise: Agropolis Ltd. (Jokioinen), Foodwest Ltd. (Seinäjoki), Functional Foods Forum (Turku), Kuopio Innovation Ltd. (Kuopio), Viikki Food Centre (Helsinki). Each centre has its own field of expertise which enables cooperation in development projects.
The Food Development Competence Cluster acts as a dynamic partner in developing new products, searching new markets, and finding reliable partners. The cluster enhances the competitiveness of the food industry both in the domestic market and internationally. The central emphasis is on developing healthy and safe foods and nutrition related services. The Food Development Cluster has set three strategic goals:
1. Development and commercialisation of healthy and health promoting food
The goal is to utilise national raw materials, develop processes, packages and technologies, and help prevent welfare illnesses.
2. Promoting the consumers' wellbeing.
The goal is to recognise and take into account consumers' needs, utilise the knowledge of food stuff markets, and develop nutrition and food services.
3. Development of risk management and safety in the food production chain.
The goal is to develop Finnish food production systems, export the knowledge of safety in food production, and develop pathogen risk management within the food production chain.
The Food Development Cluster has actively collaborated in dozens of projects with food companies totally valued over 15 million euros in the beginning of 2009. The cluster works constantly with more than 150 food companies. Besides of that, the cluster collaborates with other national clusters, such as Health Bio, Health and Wellbeing, Intelligent machines and Forest Industry Future Cluster, to seek new solutions in the fields of nutrition and health for the future use of food companies.
The Food Development Cluster works in close cooperation with several research organisations. Key partners are the University of Helsinki, the University of Kuopio, the University of Turku, the University of Vaasa, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.The Food Development Cluster is active on the international level. The main geographic areas of cooperation are the Baltic Sea Region, EU countries, Russia and Far East (particularly China and Japan). The cluster has active contacts both to universities, research centres and food companies in these countries.
The Food Development Cluster Programme is part of the national Centre of Expertise Programme (OSKE) which is financed by the Ministry of Employment and Economy of Finland and regional councils and cities. The programme promotes the utilisation of the highest international standard of knowledge and expertise that exists in the different regions.