Finland’s Fazer Group is going ahead with a plan to exit the dairy category, including ending production of milk products at its Koria plant.

The Koria facility in south-east Finland will focus on the manufacture of oat drinks and oat-based products after the cessation of dairy production slated for August.

Fazer first flagged the plans in January, initially signalling around 95 permanent workers of the 220 or so employed at the factory would lose their jobs. In an update today (23 February), the Helsinki-headquartered business said the number of positions to be lost had been cut to 82.

Negotiations with those affected have been completed, Fazer said. A spokesperson for the business confirmed to Just Food the remaining 138 jobs at the Koria plant have been protected and will be engaged in the production of plant-based products such as oat drinks, the company’s core category area.

Kati Rajala, the director of Fazer’s non-dairy and dairy operations, said in a statement: “We do everything we can to help our employees’ chances of re-employment, and we support our personnel in many different ways. Vacant jobs in the Fazer Group are primarily offered to those employees affected by the dismissal.”

The Koria plant produces fresh milk, cream and cooking products such as flours and mixes, the spokesperson said, mainly private label.

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“Due to the small production volumes and the complexity of dairy operations based on economies of scale, achieving competitiveness is very challenging for Fazer,” the statement read.

The Koria factory, inherited through the 2019 acquisition of Kaslink and operated by Fazer’s Lifestyle Foods division, produces the Aito brand of oat drinks and oat-based snacks.

Fazer’s 2022 group sales rose 13% to EUR1.12bn (US$1.18bn). The Lifestyle Foods business contributed EUR259.8m, an increase of 44%.

For Fazer as a whole, comparable EBITDA dropped 10% to EUR101.4m and EBIT was down 22.4% at EUR4.9m. Net profit declined 49% to EUR16.2m.