Syvälahti school eight-graders testing Chipsters fish nuggets and fishballs
Particularly known for its fish products, Chipsters is a food company originating from Åland, which provides fish products for Arkea, among others, and therefore, also for schools and daycare centres in Turku. The company, which has operated for 85 years, is continuing the long archipelago tradition regarding fishery and fish preparation, relying on fresh raw materials and respecting the clean sea.
For Eat my Turku, Chipsters, Arkea, and the City cooperated to arrange a home economics class about the responsibility of fish foods. Eight graders at Syvälahti school cooked Chipsters fishballs and fish nuggets with suitable accompaniments and learned about the responsibility of fish foods. At the same time, the students provided valuable direct feedback to Chipsters, Arkea, and the city.
Peppi Kurikka and Noora Aaltonen, who participated in the class, both considered it a good idea, because they felt that the responsibility of foods should be talked about more.
‘I don’t think about environmental matters that much, because I don’t know where everything comes from. I should think about them more, though. This class helped me do that,’ Aaltonen says.
Chipsters considers ecological matters in all phases of the work, and, for example, the company’s main ingredient, rainbow trout, is fully utilised. However, ecological thinking is not limited to the use of raw materials.
‘Responsibility is also shown in what we do internally, not only ecological actions. We dare to challenge old ways of doing things, and in doing so, we dare to develop,’ says Chipsters Head of Sales Merilin Koskinen.
‘We are moving away from polystyrene packaging and towards recyclable alternatives produced in Finland. We also mostly use fish caught around Åland, which cuts down the length of the deliveries.’
Customised solutions for the needs of customers
The main production plant of Chipsters is in Mariehamn, where fish is processed. The company also has a deli kitchen in Porvoo, where mayonnaise-based salads are made. The product range also includes fresh products such as vegetables and fruits, as well as meat, including game. Chipsters delivers 65–70 per cent of its products to institutional kitchens, and 30–35 per cent of the products are sold to retail stores under the Hyvä Apaja brand.
Supplying fish products in a customer-oriented manner is at the core of Chipsters’ operations, and fish products are what Arkea mostly orders from Chipsters.
‘We produce customised solutions for our customers at our production plants. In the world of school meals, healthy food and healthy meals are at the centre of operations. We are able to customise Heart Symbol products in cooperation with our customers, for example. This is customer-orientation at its best,’ Koskinen says, smiling.
This customer-orientation is also being promoted at Syvälahti school, where the students are allowed to openly express their opinions on the foods they taste and school meals in general. Even though the eight-graders have liked the Chipsters products they have been offered, Kurikka and Aaltonen have some improvement suggestions for school meals.
‘There could be some fine adjustments to some school meals. The fish loaf is not the tastiest in the world, and it could use some more flavour,’ Aaltonen smiles. Kurikka continues:
‘It would be nice to have some tortillas and other more exceptional dishes sometimes. No junk food, though.’
Special praise for fish nuggets and fishballs
In addition to fish fingers, nuggets, and balls, Chipsters also provides more traditional fish products like rainbow trout roe and smoked fish.
‘Rainbow trout roe always runs out as soon as we get some, and we smoke our fish traditionally by using alder smoke. However, we are particularly proud of our rainbow trout balls. They have been examined and tested, their fish content is high, and they have been awarded the Heart Symbol,’ Koskinen says.
The eight-graders like the Chipsters nuggets and fishballs, and Kurikka and Aaltonen also praise them in particular.
‘I liked the taste of both, and I hope they end up on the school menu,’ Kurikka says.
This wish is likely to come true faster than the girls believe: the saithe balls will be introduced onto the menu later this spring, and the product development of the nugget meal for the menu is nearing its completion.
Recipes made for Chipsters:
- Saithe with orange sauce
- Chipsters saithe balls with cheddar and orange sauce
- Chipsters fish nuggets with two dips