Helsinki Wildfoods and METTÄ - clean healthy food from Finnish forest!

The nutrient-rich and clean foods of Finnish nature are beneficial for the body and mind. That's why they deserve to be appreciated internationally.
METTÄ forest |

The story behind METTÄ products and Helsinki Wildfoods started in the autumn of 2015, when friends biologist Anna Nyman and journalist Pauliina Toivanen were hooked on the world of wild herbs and vegetables, and held wild herb courses in the Helsinki metropolitan area under the name Helsinki Wildfoods.

Anna and Pauliina's course was attended by Annika Hannus, a friend of the women, a food scientist. After tasting nettle pesto for the first time in her life, Annika experienced such an incredible taste and awe that there was no going back to her old life: people had to be made aware of these wonderful Finnish superfoods and they had to be made available in shops all year round.

Annika was very upset when she realized why more knowledge was not being taught at school to appreciate these natural ingredients and why food education (at least in Annika's time) was mainly focused on milk, cereals and meat. These natural ingredients are the basis of Finnish food culture, but few people know how to use them!

Annika was very upset when she realized why more knowledge was not being taught at school to appreciate these natural ingredients and why food education (at least in Annika's time) was mainly focused on milk, cereals and meat. These natural ingredients are the basis of Finnish food culture, but few people know how to use them!

So, Anna, Pauliina, Annika and photographer Aino Huotari got their heads together and a company was formed to promote the cause. Since then, the team has changed, and the seasonal course side and the year-round product range have gone their separate ways under different brands. Helsinki Wildfoods set out to develop a brand specifically aimed at exports, and international multi-tasker Roosa Heinilä joined the team. The course business continued under the Helsinki Wildfoods brand, and the food side was developed under the new brand name METTÄ. Together, these will take the story of Finnish nature forward in a holistic way.

From the roots of the tree to the top!

At the wild herb courses, the herb makers served all kinds of wild foods, but their first official product was Nettle herb salt. Newly started, enthusiastic, and proud women entrepreneurs set out to present their brand new products to Finland's biggest retail chains. We got some feedback that the flavours were good, but come back when you're a bit further along with the packaging: the bags had such a homey look that a buyer in a big chain store couldn't even make out the product names.

- So product development and market research continued. We got to know our potential customers better, and realized that they were not market people, but the very customer base of Ruohonjuuri. In cooperation with Ruohonjuuri, we set out to develop our range. Without the very friendly staff at Ruohonjuuri, our business would have hit in the first bumps on the road," Annika recalls.

Good Sleep Tea here to help

The most popular product in the METTÄ range has for several years been the Good Sleep herbal tea, in which, for example, lemon balm and relaxing heather work in harmony to help sleep better.

- Good sleep herbal tea is a carefully thought-out blend of pure Finnish herbs, known for their calming and relaxing effects. All herbs are 100% Finnish, completely free of aromas. When you start to look closely at the tea packaging, you quickly notice that many manufacturers use aromas or oils and just a hint of the real plant," Helsinki Wildfoods explains.

- Using the real stuff and flavours (natural or not) has a big impact on the cost to the manufacturer. Natural flavourings are chemical compounds and are isolated from products of plant, animal or microbiological origin, for example by extraction or distillation. For example, natural blueberry flavouring does not necessarily have to come from blueberries.

Annika Hannus believes that in today's world, after a day spent mostly indoors, it can be difficult to settle down for a good night's sleep:

- Here, herbs and having a cup of evening tea in your presence are a great help. Good Sleep is really tasty, but mild at the same time. We believe that many people also appreciate the Finnish origin of the ingredients. In addition, our bag packagings are fully compostable.

"I drink a cup of our Good Sleep herbal tea every night, it's very effective in relaxing my overtired body and mind. It's become an important evening routine that I won't give up. The Finnish herbs are simply superior," says Roosa.

Enchanting natural remedies for the busy city dweller

Mettä products are particularly suited, according to their manufacturers, to busy city dwellers who value their wellbeing and who do not have the opportunity to collect and store their own wild plants.

- Most of our products are packaged in a lightweight biodegradable and resealable bag that is easy to carry to the workplace or on a picnic. Herbal teas only get better the longer you brew them, and are mostly suitable for drinking at any time of the day.

- Personally, I make a mixture of Roseroot (Rhodiola) and a rotating selection of other herbs in the thermos in the morning, and let the tea bag simmer in the thermos all day long between sipping the drink. Our nettle pesto is also really handy! You can make just one serving at a time, even on top of a lunch salad or sandwich.", says Annika

Uphill and downhill - enjoying the journey!

Our journey with Helsinki Wildfoods has been a great one, and we look back on the educational ups and downs with great fondness. Entrepreneurship in the natural products industry is not the easiest career choice. We've been strict about making sure that all our products are made in Finland, are of the highest quality and packaged sustainably," Annika says.

- The Corona-virus era has brought its own challenges, especially when it comes to exports, but we believe that Finnish food is just taking its first steps in international competition. The more we gain a foothold for natural products abroad, the more diverse forests and natural meadows will be appreciated and preserved at home.

Helsinki Wildfoods is immensely proud of the Finnish raw material producers whose journey in primary production they are happy to follow. Their latest foray into this area is Finnish honey flavoured with forest flavours, to which the METTÄ brand fits like a glove.

- Next year we also plan to move into organic control. At the moment, many of our great ingredients come from organic fields or are harvested from forests registered as organic, but we haven't been able to say so on the packaging," Annika explains.

Today, some of Helsinki Wildfoods' herbal heroes have children or are expecting:

- Combining parenthood and work is not always easy, but it's wonderful to see how the joy of nature and making things is catching. Children are our best critics in product development and teach us to enjoy being present and in the moment," she says.

M-2008-1061 2302 - Melissa officinalis - common name : melissa, lemon balm, balm mint, sweet balm, common balm - Relaxing effect - helps to find sleep
M-2008-1061 2406 - Calluna vulgaris (Heather) - Relaxation