Raisio wants to expand its oat business as to form ‘another strong international pillar’ alongside its Benecol brand.
To this end, the Finnish food group has invested €8m to increase capacity at its oat mill located in Nokia, Finland. This, the group said, will facilitate the export of Finnish oat products and manufacturing of value-added products.
“Thanks to the investments, our oat mill is now in top working condition. We increased the mill capacity and our ability to manufacture different oat products to meet the growing demand in Finland and Europe,” the group’s chief executive revealed today.
“The oat boom is just beginning in Europe now, so the growth perspectives are quite interesting,” Kuusniemi added.
Adding value: Gluten-free and oat fibre
From the beginning of this year, Raisio will have the capability to produce gluten-free oat products at its facility in Nokia.
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain but, in normal production conditions, products are typically exposed to cross contamination from small amounts of other grains.
Raisio has developed ‘several different purification phases’ to produce gluten-free oat products and ensure that other grains are removed. “The products are run through several phases of analysis to ensure that they are completely gluten-free,” the company noted.
Kuusniemi said that expanding into the gluten-free space will mean Raisio is able to export its finished oat products – which will be sold under the Elovena brand - to Europe ‘in a competitive manner’.
“We have invested in the production of our gluten-free oat products so that we can accelerate the export of quality Finnish foods in a competitive manner. The first Elovena Gluten-free products manufactured at the mill in Nokia will appear in shops around the end of January or beginning of February 2020,” he revealed.
Raisio’s oat mill can now also produce oat fibre products with a high beta-glucan content.
Beta-glucan is an oat fibre that helps to reduce cholesterol and prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels, the company noted. No details of imminent product launches were shared.
Raisio also wants to tap into the growth potential of the plant-based category.
To this end, Raisio is currently building a production facility to manufacture plant-based added-value products. The company expects to invest €45m in the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2021.
Raisio said the separate investments in its oat and plant-based capacity ‘support one another’. The oat mill will provide ingredients to the plant-based production facility, the company elaborated.
“While our short-term growth expectations are focused, in particular, on the export of oat products to industrial customers, our overall strategic goal is to further build our Elovena brand in a way that will draw greater interest from international consumers,” Kuusniemi said.