As the country’s biggest milk processor, Valio is owned by Finnish dairy farmers and has a net turnover of €1.823bn; the firm is also active in specialty ingredients and functional foods.
A Valio spokeswoman confirmed to FoodNavigator.com that the new €55m facility – upon which construction is due to start this summer, with an August 2013 completion date expected – will partly replace the firm’s existing site in Lapinlahti, althugh there will be no impact upon jobs.
Dedicated milk powder line
Constructed in 1959, the original plant employs 230 staff and uses 302m kg of milk per year to produce Emmental, Edam and Gouda cheeses, milk powders and demineralised whey powders.“The new factory will incorporate a dedicated line for milk powder,” the spokeswoman said.
Reima Luomala, vice president, Butter, Spreads and Ingredients said the new facility would incorporate enhanced facilities for production of low-mineral whey powders used as ingredients in the baby food industry, where “demand for these powders is showing global growth," especially in the Asian countries.
Food ingredient commitment
Valio executive vice president, cheese, butter and ingredients, Arto Tikkanen said that the new investment showed the firm’s commitment to ingredients as well as finished consumer products.
He added that the investment would also secure the future of milk production, which is a significant employer in Eastern Finland; Valio has just announced a rise in milk prices paid to farmers of 2.5 cents (to 41 cents) from April 2011.
Project leader for the new facility, Antero Ylitalo said: “Our planning premise was that the requirements of even the most demanding baby food customers would be met now and in the decades ahead.
“In addition, we wanted a higher energy efficiency plant producing lower emissions.”
With 15 existing production plants throughout Finland, two in Estonia and one cheese-packaging facility in Belgian, Valio produces milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, milk powders and demineralised whey powders.