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Food is the way into the heart: Tactical Foodpack, an Estonian food company with multi-million euro funding, wins the hearts of hikers around the world

A hiker enduring difficult conditions far away from home can find extra motivation in delicious, easy-to-prepare food. This is well known to the executives of Tactical Foodpack, an Estonian hiker gourmet meal company that recently received millions of euros from investors for expansion.

Tactical Foodpack has been gaining widespread popularity among hikers for their gourmet outdoor meals. “We produce delicious, natural and balanced meals that are developed in cooperation with our research partner, the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK),” says Ragnar Tammsalu, the COO of Tactical Foodpack. “Our meals are lightweight and easy to prepare, ready in just ten minutes. They also have an eight-year shelf life.”

The meals can be prepared in the package over a campfire. The company uses freeze-drying technology to produce the meals. “The first phase of the production involves preparing the food like you would at home. Later, the food is freeze-dried and packaged into special containers,” Tammsalu says.

This explains how Tactical Foodpack’s products are full of flavours which, according to Tammsalu, can motivate people who are hiking or enduring difficult outdoor conditions. When asked about Tactical Foodpack’s advantages over their competitors, Tammsalu says: “Our meals are also lightweight. One lunch meal weighs about 100 grammes, which is significantly less than a regular prepared meal. This helps to reduce the weight of the hiker’s backpack.” The eight-year shelf life also allows the person to stock up on food for emergencies.

Asso Uibo, Invest Estonia’s Director of Regional Business Development in South Estonia, sees a lot of potential in Tactical Foodpack’s products. “They can produce outdoor meals that are better in quality and taste than people are used to,” he says.

From Special Forces to ordinary people

The idea for Tactical Foodpack’s long-lasting food products came from the Special Operations Forces who were in need of lightweight, nutritious and delicious meals. The company created a product line with a long shelf life that does not contain any additional preservatives or flavour enhancers.

“The founder of our company was Sverre, an ex-medic in the Special Operations Forces,” explains Tammsalu. “The idea for the company came from a specific need. In 2014, Sverre was on a mission. After a few days of holding position, he realised he could not eat canned food anymore. He came up with the idea of producing delicious, natural and balanced outdoor meals that would motivate people enduring difficult conditions.”

Uibo mentions that there is a stable and steadily growing demand for Tactical Foodpack products in the military field. The number of private consumers is also increasing. “Families hiking for a long period of time are looking for natural, easy-to-prepare homemade meals,” he explains. “When you’re in nature without your everyday comforts, everything that makes your experience feel a bit more comfortable, suddenly becomes very important. Tactical Foodpack makes it easy to prepare high-quality, delicious and nutritious outdoor meals, which is why it is a wise choice for a hiker.”

Tammsalu adds that most of the current Tactical Foodpack users are hikers, and also – ordinary people. “The latter mainly stocks up on our meals for emergencies,” he says. “Our meals are known for their great taste. We have received heartwarming feedback from our clients.”

Going global from South Estonia

Providing hikers with truly delicious food has helped Tactical Foodpack reach 34 countries and gain 180 business customers from around the world. The company has its roots in Southern Estonia and currently employs 40 people.

This year, the company received an investment round of four million euros which will be used to enter the U.S. market. “In 2023, we plan to open a production factory in Germany to help us be closer to our European clients. It will also help us enter the US market, which is the world’s biggest one,” Tammsalu says.

A special niche in local food industry

Uibo adds that even though Tactical Foodpack belongs to a rather narrow field within the food industry, it still has its place among other similar companies. “The region is known for producing food products that are special and important to Estonians, such as milk, grains and meat, as well as for large food companies like Valio, Tere, Estover, Atria, Nõo and Tartu Mill,” Uibo says. “There is also a diverse, extensive network of smaller companies creating products that are either traditional to one region or are innovative and functional, just like Tactical Foodpack.”

Uibo adds that all the food companies, regardless of their size or product, are connected by one word. “That word is quality,” he says. “Food standards are high as it is a basic commodity that local consumers do not want to compromise on. The clean nature of the region allows crop and livestock farmers to sell high-quality produce to food companies who use it to create new delicious and healthy products.”

Read more about the food industry here and the opportunities offered by South Estonia here. You are welcome to request 1:1 e-Consulting here.

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