Montinutra develops new product applications from Finnish spruce chips

News 2021-11-15 at 9:13
© Roine Piirainen / Kuvia Suomesta

Montinutra develops, produces and commercialises new products from the spruce sawdust. In general, industrial side streams from the forest industry are used for energy production or sold to the world as briquettes and pellets.

"Our idea is to use part of the sawmill industry's side streams and increase the value of the raw material many times over," says Jukka Mäkelä, CEO of Montinutra. The raw material is readily available from domestic sawmills, and the production process developed by the company is organic and suitable for food. "We have a long history of development work with Finnish universities and research institutes, and we were also involved in the FuBio project funded by Business Finland."

Natural raw materials for the cosmetics and food industry

Montinutra has patented a number of research compounds, currently focusing on the Kuusikumi™ extract. It can be used in cosmetics, toiletries and food products, amongst others. Discussions on product applications have been initiated with several European operators in the cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries.

"The most interesting aspect is the sustainability of the products. Organic and circular economy usually spark a very positive discussion," says Mäkelä.

Kuusikumi™ from sawdust is a genuine natural product, free from synthetic additives, chemicals and microplastics. The product is used in applications such as emulsification, stabilisation and binder. Preliminary studies also show that the extract has bioactive effects.

"We have developed and patented the health-promoting Kuusikumi® product for lower urinary tract and prostate problems," says Mäkelä. Although it is not a medicine, the development of health products is also highly regulated. "To further develop these products, we need a strong commercial partner in the industry."

Innovation is easy, commercialisation is demanding

While many product ideas are promising, they often require huge resources to commercialise. "A success story requires much more than a great innovation," Mäkelä says. "And that is precisely Montinutra's strength. We have the expertise to develop a cost-effective manufacturing process, product development, product commercialisation and regulation. We are first and foremost an executive and operative company, not just an innovator."

This year, Montinutra built a proof-of-concept pilot plant in Turku. "It has proven that our production process is efficient, risk-free and scalable. The next step is to invest in commercial-scale production, which requires securing both market potential and financing."

Montinutra Oy is owned by more than 40 angel investors and industrial anchor investor Metsä Spring.

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