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trade with estonia

Estonia’s clean resources fuel innovative food industry

The quality of Estonian food relies on clean resources. A clean environment and diverse pure flavors are the cornerstone of Estonia´s highly innovative food industry, which is designing the future of food. The companies Black Garlic, YOOK, and TFTAK are good examples of this.

The historical necessity for adaptability and ingenuity has driven Estonia’s food industry to embrace innovation through scientific advancements and modern technologies. This has made production and logistics more efficient, automated, and high-quality while minimizing environmental impact.

Behind the country’s healthy and safe food is a boldly innovative industry. Estonia is home to a growing number of innovative food companies who export clean Nordic flavors to over 100 markets worldwide. These three companies serve as good examples of innovative food producers.

YOOK creates an alternative to traditional milk

Because of the changing climate and limited resources, there is a growing need to find new ways to feed humanity more efficiently. YOOK recognised that consumers crave something new, more environmentally friendly and with more flavour. Something that also uses drastically fewer resources to produce. So, they took on the challenge and developed a solution that is both tasty and good for our planet: oat drink.

„Our mission in YOOK is twofold: to create the best oat drinks to offer a real alternative to dairy and therefore to drive positive change for our planet. With our unwavering dedication to excellence and sustainability, we’re reshaping the dairy alternative landscape, one oat at a time,“ said Katre Kõvask, CEO of YOOK.

Although oat-based drinks compete in the international market, YOOK outperforms them by using state-of-the-art technology and organic whole-grain oats to maintain high-quality products. This means a better taste experience and an assurance for consumers that the ingredients are pure and beneficial without worrying about preservatives or other additives.

Although YOOK launched its first products in January, its approach has already earned two prestigious awards: #1 in the health products category at the Gulfood 2024 Innovation Awards and Superior Taste Award 2024 with 2 stars by the International Taste Institute.


Founded: 2021 in Estonia by Mark Eikner, Armin Karu, Martin Kangur and Paavo Pettai
Food and Beverage, Dairy Alternative
Total investment raised:
Over €14 million
Main export markets:
The Baltics, Gulf Countries, Southeast Asia, Northern and Western Europe
Product range: Six different tasting oat drinks 

Black Garlic adds a unique color to the plate

What started as tasting something interesting made by an acquaintance in an old Estonian farmhouse and trying to replicate it turned into producing and (re)introducing black garlic worldwide. When the old and largely forgotten technique from Korean cuisine was combined with pure local garlic and the Estonian entrepreneurial attitude, Must Umami was born. „As with many things in this life, the secret to the taste of black garlic is time, warmth and love,“ described Margus Sarmet, CEO of Black Garlic.

The production of black garlic has been developed and fine-tuned as the result of the founders’ own engineering, extensive research, and long-term testing. Black Garlic has also valued collaboration with other producers, sharing valuable knowledge from one practitioner to another and partnering up to bring new innovative products to the market: black garlic paste, capsules, powder etc.

They also know that sustainability is key–utilising all parts of garlic, from the cloves to the flowers, using solar energy and organic produce. Today, black garlic is a sought-after taste by chefs and food producers worldwide, perfectly reflecting the nature of Estonia’s fusion food–combining the best organic produce, interesting tastes across the world and smart technology.

They have received multiple awards for their product, including #1 best organic product at the Gulfood 2023 Innovation Awards and #1 best product from a small North Estonian company in 2023.

Black Garlic is garlic cooked for about 3 weeks at low temperature with high humidity. In this process the natural sugars caramelize, and the garlic turns black, while the taste of the garlic becomes pleasantly sweet, almost caramel-like and the health-promoting properties multiply.


Founded: 2008 in Estonia by Margus Sarmet
Food and Beverage, Food Supplements
Main export markets:
Germany, Finland, Latvia, UAE
Customer base:
Karslkroona, FruitExpress, Magnum, Tamro, Marta Pagar, Moe, E-Piim, Meemeistrid, Kaubamaja, Coop, Rimi, Aldar
Product range:
They currently have a range of products, from gourmet ingredients to food supplements and beauty products.

TFTAK turns apple pomace into a valuable food product

TFTAK (Centre of Food and Fermentation Technologies) is a privately owned research organisation developing innovative solutions for the food and biotechnology industry. Companies turn to TFTAK to explore new product ideas or solutions to their problems.

For instance, the project with local apple juice and cider producer Siidrikoda aimed to examine whether it’s feasible to turn pomace into a viable food product, thus contributing to a zero-waste approach.

Every year, apple juice production creates 5 million tons of apple pomace. The team thought that there could be a better and more sustainable solution for using it rather than composting or dumping it in landfills.

Team TFTAK developed a process to valorise the leftover pomace and extract good-quality apple puree. They added other purees and fibre to produce a tasty and health-supporting smoothie. Research and development processes included prototype development for utilising pomace. They scaled it up to an industrial level and optimised preprocessing activities related to industrial apple pomace.

7: only seven countries in the world meet WHO air quality standards, Estonia is among them;
23% of the farmland is organic;
51% of the land is covered by forest;
28% of Estonia’s area is under protection.

As a result, Siidrikoda implemented a new production line to utilise pomace. TFTAK also helped to prove the positive health effects scientifically. They conducted a dietary intervention study and published a scientific paper that proved to positively affect human health when consuming the smoothie.

The collaboration between Siidrikoda and the TFTAK has been a significant step towards sustainable and innovative practices in the food industry and circular economy. The pomace, which used to be a waste, is transformed into a valuable food product. Recently, Siidrikoda received the Best Estonian Food Product 2024 prize for the smoothie. This collaboration demonstrates how research, innovation, and sustainable practices benefit businesses, consumers, and the environment.


Founded: 2004 by Tallinn University of Technology and partner companies AS Laser Diagnostic Instruments, OÜ Bioexpert, AS PRFoods, AS Salutaguse Pärmitehas
Food & Biotech Research, Food and Beverage sector
Good Food Institute grants 2019, 2023; Horizon Research Grant
100 (including 20 PhDs)
Main export markets:
Europe (Scandinavia), Asia (AUE, SA), Canada, USA
Recent awards:
Best Estonian Food Product 2022; XPRIZE Finalist 2024; 2024 Tallinn Special Award at the Best Estonian Food Product 2024

TFTAK offers research and development services worldwide as a complete solution supporting the client from idea to market-ready product. The goal is to develop innovative, sustainable, health-supporting food technologies by implementing an agile development process. TFTAK can execute even the most challenging ideas.

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