Cluster operates as a membership association “Latvian high added value and healthy food cluster” established as a legal entity in 2015. It is based in Vidzeme region, but as a triple helix network of members and partners, involves stakeholders also from the Riga planning region.
Cluster fosters development and market uptake of new products, promotes knowledge and technology transfer among cluster members, allows development and implementation of new projects as well as helps SME’s to internationalize their activities and find business partnerships abroad.
Development of the Cluster was initiated in 2010 by Vidzeme Planning Region and two R&D institutions. Currently the network involves 33 organizations, majority of them are innovative and export oriented food and drinks industry SMEs. Cluster is actively collaborating with other Food clusters and various organizations across the Baltic Sea region, and was one of the partners in BSR Stars flagship project "BSR Food - BSR Food Cluster Network around the Baltic Sea".
The Cluster has been involved in several collaboration projects with partners from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, and Estonia. It’s members have participated in several experience exchange, business development and training activities. Currently the Cluster is involved in the COSME programme project “5ForExcellence” which is a unique cross-industry collaboration project involving clusters operating in food, ICT and logistics industries, and is focused on enhancing Cluster management excellence.
Key focus and activity areas of the cluster:
- Networking, collaboration, knowledge and experience exchange;
- New product and technology development – food sector innovation;
- Increasing public awareness of high added value and healthy food;
- Strategic collaboration with other industry innovation players in EU: development of international collaboration with food and related industries clusters in Baltic Sea region and EU, development of collaboration with other industry clusters in Latvia.
Key activity areas of the Vidzeme Food cluster:
- Development of local collaboration between cluster’s participants
- Development of high added value, healthy and safe food and drinks products
- Development of technologies for food safety and food research
- Increasing public awareness of high added value and healthy food
- Development of international collaboration with food clusters in Baltic Sea region
- Development collaboration with other industry clusters in Latvia
The participation in the project has created an ongoing collaboration among several cluster companies and experts from Nordic countries, and the project itself has proved to be of great value to the cluster companies, and has received a great feedback from participants, especially from company “Verry Berry”:
"The presentations held in Foodture Lab gave us a good insight in the tendencies of the Danish and Swedish markets that helped us to understand several new product lines that we could produce in the nearest future. We were introduced with scientists researching the same products that we work with, with the possibilities that they can offer us. We also have already consulted one of them and received an immeasurable advice that otherwise would cost us a lot of money. We have offered also our plantation to them as a field of tests in case they would be working with any of the cultures we grow.”
Ilze Sauskina, Marketing Manager, Very Berry
Cluster and four its companies (Valmiermuiža beer, Very Berry juices, Smiltene Cider brewery, Valmiera organize - pumpkin processers) were involved in Leonardo da Vinci programme project: 'Vidzeme ecologic beverage manufacturers' internship in France' (October 2013) . Project was implemented in cooperation with the General Council of Lower Rhine, France. In preparing for the internship, the participants learned the basics of French language and improved their knowledge of French culture in order to be well prepared for their 2 weeks stay in France – a week in Alsace region where they specialized in juice making methods and a week in Normandy region where they studied cider brewing techniques.
All three companies forming the board of the cluster (Aloja Starkelsen, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Felici) have been among Swedish Business awards finalists granting cluster a wide recognition as a successful network of competitive and growing companies. Swedish business awards is an initiative coordinated by the Swedish embassies, Business Sweden, National governments and investment agencies, and high calibre companies such as Volvo, Ericson etc. It is a high level event that recognizes the business development success stories in Baltic countries.