Combining healthy lifestyle and business

In his life and career, Norwegian Håkon Volden has relied on his instincts and the belief that people have a responsibility to do good things.


One of Håkon Volden’s earliest achievements was growing his family’s fish farm into a business so large that it was listed on the stock exchange. When he was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, he decided to change the course of his life. He finished and sold out all of his investments and begun his own personal journey to heal and become healthy again.

Håkon returned with full energy and more determined than ever before. He was passionate about the importance of health and nature to improve people’s lives.

– When I got into the nutrition industry, I got a good feeling right away. I knew this was where I wanted to begin my next chapter in business, recalls Håkon.

After observing former medicine factory in Seinäjoki, Finland, he was inspired by the clean facilities as well as modern and flexible high-tech equipment – and a team of good, dedicated people with the right know-how and expertise. Håkon wanted to adopt these same qualities into his own business.

In Minorito, he saw the opportunity to combine his passions for business and holistic lifestyle. Minorito is an important endeavour for Håkon, where money is not the main driver. He created Minorito to make quality, natural and clean supplements for the company’s customers, himself and his family. Minorito is a personal passion that he is highly committed to.

– Minorito is like a family where everyone is doing their best to help the customers. Of course a business needs to be cost-effective and profitable, but the first priority is quality. We make safe and efficient dietary supplements, highlights Håkon.

Håkon brings Finnish reliability and uncompromising workmanship combined with Norwegian enthusiasm to Minorito, and a strong desire to help people live happier lives through nature’s inherent goodness.


Dosage form can affect a product’s market value

Tablets and capsules have their benefits, as do powders


According to Minorito’s Product Developer Raimo Saari, the form of a nutraceutical product can be surprisingly important to consumers. The suitable form for each product should always be considered on a case-by-case basis. Tablets and capsules have their benefits, as do powders.

“Sometimes, the best option may be to launch a product in two dosage forms – a chewable tablet and powder, for example. This provides a clear indication of which one sells best. It may even be that offering the same product in two different forms will reach a wider range of target groups,” he says as a tip.

Currently, drinkable powders are a rising trend in nutritional supplements. They can be easily manufactured in single or double packets that can be separated by tearing.

“Another benefit of powders is that the binders important in the production of tablets can be avoided. A powder only contains the necessary active substances and flavours.”


Memory becomes the new boom


During his ten years in the field, Raimo Saari has noticed that new hit products tend to come and go frequently in the supplement sector. At the moment, people are interested in vitamin B12, which seniors use to support their memory.

“Awareness of the significance of nutritional supplements in supporting one’s well-being is increasing at the same rate as the population ages. In addition to this, consumers want more personalised information about the supplement doses suitable for them.”

The competition is also increasing with new actors entering the field. The UK and the United States have the longest traditions, but Finnish companies are gaining renown thanks to their clean high-quality products. Finnish wild berries, in particular, are in high demand, even on international markets.

“Berry powders can also be used to add a natural colour to products,” Saari adds.

So far, there have been fairly few organic products in the field of nutritional supplements. The Minorito product developer sees this as an interesting future trend.

“Our factory is fully capable of manufacturing organic supplements. We just need to find the right raw materials. For example, glucosamine, which is used for joints, can be manufactured from plants.”


A Building Rich in Tradition Radiates History

Terttu Miilumäki has worked in the same building for almost her entire life


Terttu Miilumäki, who started working at the pharmaceutical plant as a summer worker in the spring of 1976, has worked in the building for over 40 years. Even though technology has brought with it much more production volume, the workplace community is still tight – its own Minorito family.

Terttu remembers how, in the 1970s, the tablet press in the pharmaceutical factory pressed four charcoal tablets at a time. Nowadays, she watches as the preforming machine tosses out ready-made tablets at speed.

Quality control and sampling have become essential parts of the job description. In the old days, work at the pharmaceutical plant was so tough that even strong men were exhausted after the work day.


Functional spaces


The factory building in the Kapernaum area of Seinäjoki was built in 1969. Significant remodeling took place in the 1980s. The office spaces were renewed in 2011, as were the production areas in 2012. Now it is time for facade and roof repairs.

“The packing department was formerly an open area. Today, that space is divided into rooms, with each one containing its own machine or line. This compartmentation reduces noise and improves production hygiene.” Terttu says.

The four-story factory building radiates a pleasant atmosphere. Terttu, who has been involved in many aspects of the manufacturing processes, enjoys her current work at Minorito, where the spirit is enthusiastic.

“As you get older, work becomes an even more important part of your life. As long as my health allows, I intend to continue working here, she says.” Terttu says.


Creating quality one step at a time

Quality and food safety are key at Minorito


A tour of the Minorito factory reveals just how important cleanliness and order are. In addition to protective clothing, the purity of the products is ensured by carefully following the best working practices and with correctly directed air flow.

Quality Manager Maarit Riihimäki explains that the company continues the practices adopted when the building housed a pharmaceutical plant. “We have kept all the working methods we consider important for quality assurance. Our products are manufactured in accordance with approved working instructions, and the progression of the production process is documented in real time. Our staff are highly motivated and skilled.”

The ingredients are acquired from partners who have proven their reliability. Production Manager Jenni Erkkilä is in charge of ordering the required constituents and packaging materials. “The majority come from European suppliers who are well-known to us,” Jenni explains. “Every delivery of ingredients that arrives is given an internal batch number at Minorito, which helps us to track the component parts from the supplier all the way to the end products sent to customers. The batches of ingredients are also identified using an FTIR device to ensure that they contain exactly what they should,” Maarit continues.

In connection with approval for use, the documents for acknowledgement of receipt, analytical data and the supplier’s analysis certificate are also checked.


FSSC 22000 Certification


As proof of Minorito’s highly effective quality system, they have been granted the FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification, which is a quality management system certificate based on international standards.

“Our production processes are regularly inspected by external inspectors. The certification also requires us to continuously develop our operations. We are happy to give our customers a tour of our facilities if they want to see for themselves how our products are made,” Maarit says.

Every production lot is carefully documented. Jenni shows us a batch record, which has been filled in by an employee on the tablet machine. The report reveals the process control measures taken and other necessary information. During the tablet-making process, for example, the procedure is monitored at least every thirty minutes by checking weight, crushing strength and appearance. During packaging, the control procedures include checking the number of products in a package, markings and the appearance of the package. Samples of all the packaging materials used for the batch are enclosed with the batch documentation to ensure traceability. Reference samples are also made of the completed packages. At Minorito, the documentation and samples of all completed batches are checked and approved before sending them on to the customer.

Built as a pharmaceutical plant for Orion in 1969, the factory building is a fascinating blend of history and modern technology. The end result is a highly successful combination of equipment suitable for processing and packaging powders and tablets.

The range of equipment also includes packaging lines for powder sachets for both small and very large scale of product. The Minorito facilities in Seinäjoki even include one of the fastest production lines for sachets in Europe, robots included.

“We’re in an excellent position as a contract manufacturer of tablets, especially, and we work in two shifts. We have recently ordered some new equipment to ensure that we will be able to increase our production capacity in the future,” Jenni concludes.