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October 14, 2021

Orkla to invest in plant-based production

The Nordic food group is expanding capacity at a factory in Sweden to meet demand in a plant-based market “growing like never before”.

Orkla, the Nordic food manufacturer, is expanding a factory in Sweden that produces plant-based meat alternatives.

The company is spending SEK70m (US$81.2m) on its facility in the southern town of Eslöv to up its capacity to make foods sold under the Anamma, Frankful and Naturlí brands.

As well as serving the Swedish market, the Eslöv site exports to other Nordic countries and the Baltic states.

“We have had an incomparable development since 2015 when we started the vegan factory in Eslöv. The production volume is about seven times higher than five years ago,” Erik Wendel, the manager of the Eslöv factory, said.

Parts of the factory are going to be rebuilt with partitions to enable to manufacture on two ongoing production lines. To increase capacity, Orkla is also planning to invest in machines for dosing, mixing and preparing products. In total, the changes mean production capacity will increase by 50%. There will, however, be no new jobs created. Some 450 staff work at the site.

“This [the investment] means we can reduce weekend shifts and instead run three shifts on weekdays. We have also invested in staff facilities. It provides opportunities to hire new employees and increase production more in the future because at the moment we do not see a stop to how much plant-based food can increase,” Wendel added.

The Eslöv site also manufactures products including Felix meatballs and soups.

In April, Orkla unveiled a new division, Orkla Alternative Proteins, to develop a general strategy for the company in the area and to “contribute to accelerating the pace of growth outside Orkla’s present home markets”. It added the company “will make larger-scale [plant-based] acquisitions if and when the right opportunities arise”.

Orkla’s plant-based brands, which also include Felix Veggie, Beauvais Veggie and Lecora Green Line, had a total turnover of NOK869m (US$102.8m) in 2020, an increase of 21% over 2019.

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