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Ecological FOODDUCK® spread dispenser gaining international reputation

Feb 13, 2016

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    A novel Finnish innovation, FOODDUCK® spread dispenser is an ideal invention. It saves the environment, money and time – and it is intelligent, too. The idea emerged like in a fairytale. Father and son found a solution to a very obvious everyday problem simply by giving some thought to "which piece is missing". The solution bubbled with a number of attributes of competitive advantage and a brand that puts you on a good mood.

    In the words of the son in the story, Timo Sorsavirta, CEO of Foodduck Oy:

    "We noticed that one problem was found in stylish and delicious bread table settings from one restaurant or buffet to another. The ambience was spoiled by either a messy table spread tub or a heap of individual plastic packages of table spread."

    "We were inspired to create a novel spread dispenser which would be both aesthetic and ecological, pleasing to the eye and durable in use," Sorsavirta tells.

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    Determined choices and investments from the start

    It was the year 2012 and Timo Sorsavirta was moved forward by a vision of an innovative spread dispenser that everyone would like to have on the bread table.

    From the start, he made many choices that turned out to be wise: After finding out that only few inventions of the kind were known from the past, he made a major investment in product development and acted fast.

    "I shifted away from Sepima, our family business, and set about designing a prototype full time with a small group of experts," Sorsavirta tells.

    Having found that the key to the invention would be inside the device, Sorsavirta acquainted himself with various trends in food packaging. He found that particularly bag packages had gained popularity; such a package could be developed for a spread dispenser as well.

    The core idea gave rise to many advantages in usability

    The final product puts one in a good mood: the FOODDUCK® spread dispenser is a handy and attractive high tech device which is suitable for restaurants, canteens, schools and hospitals alike. You bring the slice of bread under the dispenser, you get an exact amount of spread on the bread, and the device will serve for more than ten years minimizing waste, maximizing convenience, and saving the nerves of the cleaning person. You can lease the device for use at reasonable cost.

    What makes the invention stand out internationally is its uniquely ecological bag package and the functionalities integrated in it. When designing the bag package, Sorsavirta investigated the different possibilities of IP protection on the basis of a novelty search carried out by Katja Mäkelä, European Patent Attorney at Turun Patenttitoimisto Oy. Golden information about existing IP rights paved the way for the development of the final product.

    "The bag package solution gave the dispenser a number of additional advantages. The package inside the device guarantees that the product is hygienic to use: the spread will not be spread onto your hands. The flexible package can be pumped out 100%; in other words, the wastage of the spread is whopping 0%. Also, the space taken by the empty bag packages is only a fraction of the space taken by, for example, empty tubs of table spread."

    "One bucket will hold more than 50 empty 1 kg bag packages but only about ten empty tubs of table spread. The difference is tenfold; the tubs are normally sized for a content of 400 g," Sorsavirta demonstrates.

    The brand and the design were created by professionals

    According to Sorsavirta, it was a pleasure to integrate intelligent electronics and an exact dispensing mechanism in the resulting product.

    "The spread dispenser contains software for collecting user data, as well as a digital display for modern communication. The device is available in two different versions: with or without a cooler."

    The design and the brand of the product were quickly built up around the innovation.

    "FOODDUCK® is a product designed and manufactured in Finland. The name speaks about convenient use and a good feeling. The brand is intended to speak to various user groups: schools, canteens, hospitals, day care centers, etc."

    "We sought for a design that is something quite different from the appearance of conventional institutional kitchen devices. In this, we were assisted by a designer who has worked for Iittala, among other firms."

    Internationalization driven forward by IP and partners in cooperation

    Launched a year ago, FOODDUCK® has received well-deserved attention in Finland. The face of the brand, CEO Timo Sorsavirta, is like his product: stands out with his positive attitude and is an uncomplicated and fast-moving Finn. The device has received wide renown via the social media and a network of friends. The product has already sold well in canteens and schools.

    "I also see that the device brings some alleviation to nursing care, suffering from a lack of resources. Quick to use and hygienic, our device will facilitate the distribution of meals in nursing homes and hospitals in the future," Sorsavirta reflects.

    We are now happy to bring the FOODDUCK® brand and technology to the international market, even beyond Europe. The IP protection has been taken into account.

    "Patents are pending in a number of important market areas, trademark registrations have been obtained, and the design has been protected with a community design," Katja Mäkelä, European Patent Attorney at Turun Patenttitoimisto Oy, says.

    Sorsavirta commends Katja Mäkelä's expertise in drawing up patent applications.

    "Our cooperation has been smooth, and the benefits of the IP investments are slowly becoming more concrete."

    In the beginning of 2016, Foodduck Oy took a big step in internationalization.

    "We entered into a cooperation agreement with the food giant Orkla. Orkla Food Ingredients acquired a stake in FD Holding Oy which manages the industrial property rights and patents relating to the FOODDUCK® spread dispenser. Orkla has produced spreads for our dispensers even before, but from now on it will be in charge of imports, sale and distribution of these spreads on the different markets as well. For our clients, the cooperation will also mean an expansion in the selection of table spreads to be dispensed."

    The FOODDUCK® devices are and will remain essentially Finnish; the product development was so comprehensive and utilized the know-how and future visions of the entrepreneur family from Naantali.

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