Finnish food group Raisio has announced it is to invest EUR45m (US$50.9m) in the production of plant-based products, including building a new dedicated facility.
The Helsinki-listed business, which owns the Benecol brand, said it is responding to the strong growth in demand for plant-based food, particularly in Europe.
“The project is funded by the company’s strong cash position and cash flow. The investment strengthens Raisio’s position as a specialist in plant-based food and supports growth in line with the company’s strategy,” it said.
Raisio’s president and CEO Pekka Kuusniemi, added: “This investment is the biggest one in organic growth for Raisio in decades and one of the most robust in the Finnish food sector lately. The development of the market for responsibly-produced plant-based food is only beginning. Inspired by consumer insight, our special expertise and strong brands, we will develop new plant-based products.”
Raisio said it plans to establish a European business based on the company’s “strong oat expertise” and plant-based food.
The new production facility will be built in the Finnish town after which the company is named.
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Raisio said its focus will be on added-value products in which oats and a wide variety of plant-based raw materials can be used.
It suggested that at full capacity, the factory will employ 30 to 35 people, some of whom will work in product development. The company has estimated that the first products made in the new factory will be available in stores during 2021.
In March, Raisio announced it was linking up with Italy-based Dr Schär to collaborate in product development and manufacturing.