When Finnish products and Vietnamese culinary combine

Feeding The Future hackathon to us in 3 words: connective, informative, experimental

Today, FoodTechies have the chance to interview with one of the finalists in Feeding The Future Hackathon. They are Tai Nguyen and Vy Pham from team Towath with the ideas to develop a new herring product from Sarkki Food.

Hi Tai and Vy, lovely to meet the team. Shall we begin by a quick introduction to the audience?

Hello, my name is Tai Nguyen. I am currently studying to become a chef at Omnia Espoo. I also have background in Design.

And this is my teammate, Vy Pham. She is learning to become a Full Stack Developer at Helsinki Business College.

How do you know about Feeding The Future Hackathon?

Before COVID-19, I study in the morning and work in the evening for a restaurant in the airport. The pandemic exploded and I have been laid off for months. However, I am not discouraged by this fact and try my best to take every opportunity to learn. Finding out about this event on social media, Vy and I decided to sign up.

It is not the first time I join a hackathon. Before, we have taken part in some physical event. But this online hackathon is a totally new experience.

What interests you in the challenge with Sarkki Food? Have you already had this idea before or it only came up after signing in to the event?

In fact, our ideas only came up after we read through the challenge with Sarkki Food. From what I know, Baltic Herring is a tasty, small, very environmental-friendly fish that is commonly found in the Baltic Sea. However, only 3% of the annual Baltic Herring fish catch is used as food for people. With our new Herring sausage product, it is time for a change!

Can you describe your food concept development in more details?

Our product takes inspiration from our hometown in Vietnam. We called it “Cha Ca” - it was made by fish meat, herbs and other seasonings. We improve the recipe and shape to match with the market in Finland where people like to eat sausage with an exotic taste.

With this product, we are targeting young adults who care about healthy lifestyle and are interested in new experiences. Besides, for women with children, fish sausage is easy to prepare and provide enough nutrition for their kids.

In addition, we also come up with a whole product line with Baltic Herring, for example: Herring pate, fish ball, Caesar sauce.

Any challenges so far with this product?

For every new product, it takes time to raise the awareness for the consumers. Also, Finnish market is competitive with many existing sausage brands. They are the two biggest challenges that we are currently having.

What are your plans with the project after the event ends?

After the event, I am so grateful that some people approached us about this solution. We also received great instructions from our mentor Antti Isokangas to bring the product to a new level.

Right now, we haven’t had any plans yet. But hopefully when the situation gets better, we can find some partners and start the process.

One last question: what are the three words you would use to describe Feeding The Future hackathon?

Feeding The Future hackathon to us in 3 words: connective, informative, experimental. Through the event, we both get a lot of new connections from the mentors and other teams. Also, the workshops are super useful, and we can take away many key points from them. And lastly, it will be one of the best experiences for our team during the pandemic.

Thank you team Towath for the interview. We wish you all the best for your upcoming plans! Hopefully, we can see the Baltic Herring Sausage someday in the supermarket!

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