Making mincemeat of other cooking tools
HackIt is the only kitchen tool just for ground meat
HackIt was founded in 2012 at the tiny village, Seim, by the Lurefjord in Hordaland. Their product—a tool specifically for cooking ground beef—was introduced in the market at the end of the year. The first year they had revenues of 814,000 NOK and a loss of -102,000 NOK. In 2013 revenue jumped to 9.5 million and profits to 4 million NOK.
The entrepreneur Vegard Ertvaag developed the product while working at sea. In his leisure time on a diving vessel he was thinking about how he could make a kitchen tool so that ground meat is effortlessly chopped and stirred into very fine little pieces quicker and more effectively, and still keep the good taste perfect for use in spaghetti bolognese, lasagna, chili con carne, and tacos. The industrial designer Hans Kotthaus designed the product. His design studio is one of the few in Norway specialized in the development of innovative products for international clients. He believes design is the tool to get attention and acceptance. The prototype was a success and they decided to go for production. Today the HackIt is produced by Bergen Plastics.
To sell the product, the company wanted to use social media. A movie about the product was made with other advertising material, and Facebook is a large part of their strategy (www.facebook.com/hackit.no).
Last year they signed a dream contract with Danish Brix Design AS. Brix Design delivers their own design products and is distributed to international companies of kitchen equipment. They distribute to 18 countries in Europe, Asia, South Africa, and North America. In two short years HackIt has moved from local sales in Norway to be found on the shelves in stores all over Europe (but still not the U.S.—sorry!). The company’s growth has been “like a fairytale.” Since the start they have sold more than 600,000 of the colorful kitchen tool. The price for a HackIt is 99 NOK.
Early on the well-known chef Erling Sundal was brought in. Today he owns 49 percent of the company. In 2013 Ertvaag did not take out any income from the company. Every krone went to improve production. They made sales agreements with Norwegian chains like Coop, Rema 1000, and Jernia, and also sold on the internet. Now an American chain seems interested. The company has invested in new production facilities and have with that increased production from 1,600 to 5,500 per day, or 1.5 million units per year.
Recently the two owners visited “down under” to check out opportunities for more sales. An Australian tourist bought the HackIt on vacation in Norway. He happened to run his own company, so when he got back, he contacted Vegard and wanted to represent the kitchen tool. They just signed a distribution agreement. The potential is there!
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.