Learn more about RENJER, its story and the products
Maybe you already have eaten tons of our wild game jerky or have just browsed our products on our website. Anyways, we are sure that you don’t know everything about the story of our company, the founding team and how we ended up making jerky. If you are interested, then keep reading.
It all started in October 2016
Three guys, from three different countries, had just moved to Lund, Sweden to study their Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. All three had a clear goal of creating their own business during the programme, but none of them knew what it would be. They all had some business ideas, of which some were crappy, others too complicated or just not feasible.
At one early morning workshop, Tim presented the idea of creating a modern interpretation of the air-dried reindeer meat that Sami people have manufactured for centuries – REINDEER CHIPS. He wanted to create a Nordic style, healthy and exclusive snack that people could enjoy with a glass of wine or a beer.
Even though none of them had any experience in the food industry, his classmates Anton and Alex became interested in this seemingly ridiculous idea and only a beer later Team Renjer was born. It must have been because this was something tangible and different than all the ideas about new dating apps, superfood capsules and so on.
Thanks to the support from their study programme, the team was able to develop their first product beside studies while still studying: Traditional Reindeer Jerky in a gift box.
The process was not straight-forward. We had to form a company, find an experienced jerky producer, as well as meat supply, design suitable packaging and in the end, acquire customers of course.
After months of struggles, the product was finally launched in May 2017 and was sold solely at touristic locations around the Nordic countries during the first year.
We managed to sell the product, but the sales numbers were low. Re-orders came in rarely. Many customers were just laughing at us and we were sometimes lost as inexperienced entrepreneurs. What followed were many problems with our fragile box packaging and many moments of desperation. Having got no salary since the beginning of the business and feeling unmotivated – we had two options to survive:
1. To quit and find jobs or 2. To revise the products and make money.
As you can see now, we decided that we won’t give up. What motivated us, was the tremendous amount of positive feedback we got on the product’s taste. Our customers liked the content we produced, but something had to be changed.
New Products in January 2018
Being a motivated team of entrepreneurs supported by the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lund we decided to give our brand another try.
Based on our customers’ feedback we changed our packaging from a box to a bag, which communicated the pure Nordic nature. Additionally, instead of just offering one flavour,
reindeer, now we decided to offer three different products from now on: Traditional Reindeer Jerky, Traditional Elk Jerky and Traditional Deer Jerky. We got a lot of great feedback, as well as many more customers, including airports and the future started to look brighter. We sold and sold and sold, and were happy.
Most of our customers were tourists, who bought our products during their trips in the Nordics. And while we tried to enter supermarkets where regular customers were doing their shopping we had difficulties. The products were too touristy, but we never wanted to sell only to tourists. Our goal was to develop a healthy, natural snack that every meat eater including tourists could enjoy.
We wanted more feedback from the mass market and were thinking of ways to get it. We decided to apply to the German Dragon’s Den (Die Höhle der Löwen) in autumn 2018.
Renjer in German Dragon’s Den 17.9.2019
We applied to the TV-show with the motivation to starr on TV. We couldn’t believe it when we got accepted to pitch in front of
Germany’s most famous investors. That three out of five investors wanted to give us money in the episode aired on the 17th of September 2019, was even more astonishing for us. However, it gave us the next motivation push to keep following our dream.
The show was viewed by at least 2 million people on the German VOX channel. Our new investor Ralf Dümmel, that we picked in the TV show, and his company DS Produkte’s network took us to thousands of shops in Germany. We sold more than ever before and were excited. The product still never became a hit on the market as the hype vanished slowly again. The products we created for the German market under enormous time pressure, were not exciting enough to keep attention in the long run.
That led us to think – What can we do next to win the people’s hearts?
Article on Gründerszene (largest start-up newspaper in Germany, in German):
After the TV-show, sales and fame started to cool down and we were happy, but not happy enough. Based on the feedback from our customers the products were still too boring, lacking excitement and too touristy. They needed a total retouch.
New Products June 2020
It was time for new product development again. We contacted both private and business customers of ours and asked them for more feedback. What was it that the market was craving for? We did surveys, design competitions and more than ten tasting rounds to identify the perfect recipes.
Some people preferred natural meat without any extra spices and others wanted it flavoured or even spicy.
We ended up creating two different product lines – one for the meat purists and one for the flavour explorers.
At the end of June 2020 we launched our current two lines:
1. Traditional Nordic (Nordic Reindeer Jerky and Nordic Elk Jerky with Sea Salt)
2. Modern Nordic (Elk Jerky with Black Pepper and Red Deer Jerky with Chili & Lime)
Based on the feedback and sales after the launch, we are finally convinced that these products have the potential to succeed even in regular supermarkets. Today we are focusing on serving you better in our e-commerce and getting these new products available in the physical stores that you visit.
We hope that you enjoy RENJER and we promise that we will introduce new products and flavours in the future!
We hope that you enjoyed the read and now, know a bit more about what RENJER is about!