Finnish food major Valio has announced plans to invest €60m ($65.3m) in cheese production at a domestic plant.

The deal will see the Lapinlahti factory expanded by 2,000 square metres to encompass new cheesemaking equipment, a new packaging operation and a new power sub-station and back-up power.

The company said the investment is intended to replace the current manufacturing apparatus, which has reached the end of its technical service life.

Construction work will begin in the summe, and a new production line is expected to be up and running in the spring of 2026.

Aleksi Ylitalo, director of the Lapinlahti plant, said: “With this significant investment, we secure the continuity of cheese production for a long time to come.

“In practice, this means that, for example, our popular gourmet cheeses, ‘Valio Keisarinna’, everyday favourite ‘Valio Hyvä suomalainen Arki’ and dozens of other cheeses will continue to be found on store shelves.”

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“The investment will also reduce the waste generated in production and boost the cheesemaking capacity of the Lapinlahti plant.”

Lapinlahti is one of Valio’s largest facilities. It receives about a quarter of Valio’s raw milk, a total of approximately 415 million litres per year.

The factory produces cheeses primarily for the domestic market but it exports some produce to countries including the US.

In addition to cheese, the Lapinlahti plant produces milk powder, demineralised whey powder, lactose-free milk powders and baby food.

“In recent years, Valio has actively developed the Lapinlahti plant and invested especially in the plant’s powder production. The most recent investment is a consumer product packaging plant, which was completed in 2020. In 2022, the plant underwent a major energy renovation […],” said the dairy maker.

The Lapinlahti factory employs around 285 people.

In April this year, Valio announced plans to close two food and drinks manufacturing facilities in Finland.

One of these, located in the south-western coastal city of Turku, processes the company’s plant-based range Oddlygood.

The other, in the Pitäjänmäki district near Helsinki, makes juices, berry soups and glogg (a type of mulled wine).

Operations at the affected sites are to be transferred to Valio’s plant in Riihimäki in the south of the country.

At the start of this year, the company announced plans to initiate “change negotiations” with 1,170 employees as part of a business restructure. Some 130 jobs were said to be at risk at the time.

Those discussions came to a close in March, Valio confirmed. A total of 89 jobs are now expected to go in the reshuffle, and 114 employees will also see changes to “the job descriptions and job content” of their roles.