Susanna, nutritional expert and product development manager

 

I am Susanna Särkijärvi and I come from Ypäjä. I have a Master’s degree in agriculture and forestry, which means that I have studied nutrition of domestic animals at the university for six years. I have also worked as an agricultural entrepreneur since our family farm underwent generational change back in 2018. My home farm is located in Pomarkku in the province of Satakunta.

Before Rovio Pet Foods, I worked for 21 years at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke, formerly 
MTT) as a researcher. My primary occupation was researching feedstuff, nutrition and well-being of horses, but my work also included all other kinds of development work related to the equine industry. Some of my work projects had to do with dogs and pigs, too!


My expertise in feeding dogs has mainly evolved from the combination of professional interest and hobbies. I should also mention that I am one of the co-authors of publication called “Koirien ruokinta ja hoito-opas” (Guide for Dog Feeding and Care), published by Maaseutukeskusten liitto (Finnish association of rural centres). For the last one and a half years working for Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), I was working on a customer project commissioned by Rovio Pet Foods, so moving to Rovio was a natural continuation in my career. Currently, I am doing remote studies at the University of Illinois with the aim of completing a study module related to production of pet food. 

Dogs are a way of life for me – so you can call me a real ‘hardcore’ dog enthusiast. I got my very first 
Labrador retriever after a lot of persuasion and convincing back in 1986, and since then I have not even considered other breeds. Quite quickly, my choice of breed was specified, and I went for the hunting line of Labradors. So far, I have had way over a dozen of them. Even now, there are seven of them living with me at home. I have also been breeding hunting Labradors since 2007 with a relaxed pace of about one litter per year. I am very interested in animal breeding right up to the level of genetics. I like to study dog pedigrees for hours on end. In my breeding work, I aim for a breed-like hunting dog, which is a healthy and easy companion for everyday life.

With dogs, I do exercise and hunting natural to the breed, but most of the time the dogs are just good old 
family members. In my dog training career, my best achievements to date have been two awards of Champion (CH), and in terms of hunting, I have shot a greyhen and hunted game with my dogs. 

When I was working on Rovio Pet Foods’ product development on Natural Resources Institute Finland’s 
(Luke) payroll, I got to know the innovative and courageous attitude of Tero and the rest of the project team. This gave new kind of boost for such a theorist as myself who was practically living under a pile of research books. I still find theory and the causes and consequences of phenomena interesting, but I also want to see their practical applications, that is, how theory and practice meet. In this work, I have been able to apply the theoretical foundation related to the nutrition of dogs and the experiences I have gained as a dog enthusiast in a completely new way. I am already familiar with the animal feedstuff sector, so I get to use my previous know-how and learn new things to the appropriate extent. The researcher’s work was also about constantly learning new, so I do not find encountering new things scary, quite the contrary – I embrace them with enthusiasm!

In my opinion, the most important thing about how Rovio Pet Foods operates is the relentless drive 
towards quality. As a serious, honest person from Satakunta, it is extremely important to me that I can stand by the values of the company I represent. Tero has given me the utmost freedom in product development, which allows us to perform at our optimal level. 

Moreover, I see that right now is the right time for such a project, it is time to respond to the needs of 
consumers. 

As a serious, honest person from Satakunta, it is extremely important to me that I can stand by the values 
of the company I represent

As a serious, honest person from Satakunta, it is extremely important to me that I can stand by the values of the company I represent.

Susanna Särkijärvi

Product development manager

Tel. +358 (0)44 901 6506

susanna.sarkijarvi@roviopetfoods.fi