Sirli is a highly experienced food scientist with expertise in food technologies and protein research. Over 10 years, she has led various research projects and teams in different food research areas, in recent years with a particular focus on alternative proteins and meat alternatives. She has gained various recognitions through international grants and competitions. In 2022 she founded a start-up company, FUNKI, which provides tasty and healthy high-protein food products from mycoprotein to diversify people’s everyday food choices and nudge their consumption habits towards more sustainable paths. FUNKI products are vegan but are made to provide a new taste experience and not imitate meat.
PhD Co-founder & CEO of FUNKI
Mary-Liis Kütt has been working in food science for over 15 years. Starting her studies first in the field of Food Technology and Product Development at TalTech, she defended her doctorate in food science at Aarhus University, Denmark. Later, she did her postdoc at the University of Vienna, Austria, studying the effects of mycotoxins on the human body and working in the core laboratory of analytical chemistry. After her studies, Mary-Liis started working at the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK). She has studied different microorganisms from the perspective of the food industry, applying them to the production of dairy, beverage, and plant-based alternatives. Currently, Mary-Liis works at the biotech startup ÄIO, which uses microorganisms to produce unique fats to replace unsustainable palm oil and coconut fat in various meat and dairy alternatives.
Talis Raak is a commercial operations lead for Rimi Eesti Food AS. His job is to unite together Baltic commercial department with local needs. Rimi Eesti is the leading retail chain in Estonia, with a network of 81 stores. Rimi employs nearly 3,000 people in Estonia. Since 2020 Rimi also has an e-store in all three Baltic Countries. Balanced, environmentally friendly and sustainable options are always important in Rimi`s assortment. Through communication, responsibility projects and other initiatives, they want to educate and motivate all people to make better choices for the society of the future.
Baltic Category Management Director, RIMI
Mariliis Mia Topp
Reitan Convenience Estonia (R-Kiosk)
Mariliis Mia has long-term communication management and business experience, being, among other things, a co-founder of a food technology start-up. She has been actively involved in promoting health awareness through work and social roles and is interested in how food affects the human body, health, mental well-being, longevity and, through this, the economy and the environment. Reitan Convenience Estonia is a leading convenience chain, which includes R-Kiosk convenience store brand and the Caffeine coffee shop chain. RCE belongs to the Norwegian family company REITAN and is part of Reitan Convenience, a business line focused on convenience trade, which has a significant impact on people's food choices in 7 Nordic and Baltic countries. Therefore, the strategic goal of the company is sustainable business activity, which, among other things, is based on the principles of the Planetary Health Diet: a food selection that takes into account both human health and the well-being of the Planet.
Ranno Nahku has been part of teamTFTAK since 2005. As a devoted scientist (PhD since 2012) he has become from researcher to R&D Director in Biotechnology. He is leading a group of 20 scientist, and he believes that a strong multidisciplinary team is key to solving complex research problems. Rannos scientific experience involves different aspects of microbial cultivation. In TFTAK his team has introduced a comprehensive pipeline that combines different methods working together - advanced cultivation, omics methods, and metabolic modelling. One of his strengths is to bring out positive aspects - we always learn something!