Fazer said it will invest EUR8.5m (US$10.3m) to add two new production lines at the plant in the city of Vantaa, including for its new Fazer Oat Choco snack bar range and oat-based breads.

The lines are expected to be operational sometime next year as the company seeks to become “one of the leading manufacturers of plant-based foods in northern Europe”.

“We see excellent growth opportunities in oat products because many consumers think that oats have delicious taste and properties that promote well-being. There will be several new oaty variants for our iconic bread classics such as Fazer Puikula, Oululainen Reissumies and Jälkiuunileipä,” Marko Bergholm, the managing director of Fazer Bakery Finland, said in the statement.

Fazer noted the popularity of oat bread has “grown significantly” in the past five years in Finland where it represents about 30% of all white bread sold in the country.

The new bread production line will directly contribute to the company’s sustainability agenda. Bergholm added: “We have emphasised environmentally-friendly solutions in our technology choices. With the new production line, the CO2 emissions of Vantaa bakery will be reduced by approximately 8% per year.”

Markus Hellström, the managing director of Fazer Confectionery, said the company had developed the Oat Choco bars as an alternative to milk chocolate amid consumer demand for plant-based snacks. The products were tested in markets in Finland and Sweden last summer, and distribution will now be expanded by the spring of next year based on customer feedback.

In February, Fazer announced it planned to close its bakery in the city of Lund, situated in the southern Swedish province of Scania, this autumn, with manufacturing to switch to facilities in Umeå, Eskilstuna and Lidköping. The company also said last summer it would permanently shutter its confectionery plant in the Finnish town of Karkkila.