Hanken students developing new services to Finnish food market

Hanken students developing new services to Finnish food market

Solving real-life business problems in cooperation with Finnish companies is a real win-win for both the students and their company collaborators.

Ever larger amount of courses of marketing at Hanken is based on real-life business situations. Students enrolled in the course “Transformative marketing strategies” by Professor Kristina Heinonen got an interesting project to solve this autumn: How would they guide HKScan in their marketing strategy work, in a rapidly changing business environment?


To solve the case challenge the students got from HKScan, the company invited the course to visit its facilities in Vantaa. When enjoying their lunch made of HKScan’s products, the students Anastasia Boman and Sara Bergman shared their thoughts about the task ahead: ”HKScan is an interesting company to work with. We got quite free hands with the project, and it was difficult to know where to start and which all actors to take into account. There are so many different aspects one can think about that affect HKScan’s market situation, in the future.”


During the afternoon, the students were comprehensively familiarized with the production processes of HKScan. EVP Heli Arantola talked for example about how the company works together with the veterinary sciences in the University of Helsinki to make sure that the animals they use are healthy and doing well, and Marjo Suoranta, VP of Human Resources, told the students about career opportunities like internships, traineeships, and summer jobs at HKScan.


The food industry will be facing changes, in the future. Young generations are the ones who change the markets. For that reason Hanken’s students are an interesting and important companion to HKScan. Kim Lindholm, Head of Concepts and Brands in HKScan, was coordinating the co-operation between Hanken and HKScan. ”We wanted to know how they, as our consumers today but also in the future, see meals and eating, and what are the options they are considering.”


Later on, the student groups presented their ideas to a jury that reviewed the groups' presentations. If the solution was useful, easy to apply and solved the given problem, the group gained high points.


Another tasty case project for students this fall has been a co-project with Restaurant Niska, in the course “Service Development Project”, instructed by PhD Helena Liewendahl from CERS Hanken. Niska is an Åland Islands based pizza restaurant chain that offers “plåtbröd” (flat bread). The students were asked to suggest Niska new service concepts, and as a result Niska got a variety of ideas from karaoke restaurants to food track tours, and boat restaurants.


“Good thinking from the students, they offered us lots of new ideas to develop Niska. Some of them were of a bit out of the box, but very inspirative, and that is exactly what we hoped”, commented Managing Director Thomas Strandvik from Niska.


Best of all, as a gesture of gratitude, every attendant at the course gets a free plåtbröd in the brand new Niska restaurant that opens on Katajanokka in Helsinki this week.


Annamari Huovinen



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