Helsinki-based food manufacturer Apetit is investing €4.5m ($4.7m) in a new vegetable oil bottling line at a plant in Finland.

The production line in Kantvik will be capable of bottling oil in plastic and glass bottles and is expected to become operational in the second half of 2024. Construction work is due to start this year, Apetit, which also supplies frozen vegetables, ready meals and soups, said in a statement.

“Investing in a new bottling line strongly follows our strategy of speeding up organic growth,” CEO Esa Mäki said.

“Vegetable oils are an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet. The continued growing interest of consumers in well-being and the pursuit of healthy living ensure the demand for vegetable oils remains high.

“A new bottling line provides opportunities for the development of products with a higher degree of processing in vegetable oil products.”

The vegetable oils made in the plant are sold to the foodservice sector and “industrial” customers.

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However, Timo Huttunen, director of the oilseed products business at the company, said the business is aiming to “increase the sales of the domestic Apetit and Neito vegetable oils” brands in the retail market.

“With the new bottling line, we take the supply chain more firmly in our own hands and will be able to develop our product selection diversely and make stronger use of the domestic origin as part of our products,” Huttunen said.

Apetit’s product selection also includes plant-based options such as vegan wings, meat-alternative patties and pizzas, along with gluten- and dairy-free vegetable appetisers.

Listed on the Nasdaq-Helsinki stock exchange, Apetit’s operating profit rebounded in the first half of the current fiscal year to 30 June, coming in at €2.7m versus a €1.2m loss in the corresponding period.

Based on continuing operations, sales rose 4% to €93.2m. Rapeseed oil revenues dropped a tad to €57.2m from €58.2m, which Mäki said in the results commentary was due to “exceptionally high” prices a year earlier.

Adjusted EBITDA climbed to €5.5m from €1.5m.

Mäki added: “The effects of cost inflation can be seen in consumer purchasing behaviour. When buying food, consumers prefer more affordable products. Our product range meets the consumers’ needs well – frozen vegetables are an easy way to eat healthy and at the same time reduce food waste.”