Finnish dairy cooperative Valio has received €10m ($10.8m) in government funding for a new research, development and innovation project.

Named Food 2.0, it aims “to create a food system in Finland where growth and added value are built on the basis of sustainable production”, according to a statement.

Food 2.0 will start this year and last five in total following the initial funding from Business Finland, the government organisation for innovation financing and trade, travel and investment promotion. Business Finland will finance Food 2.0 tasks in Valio’s partner network with €20m for “projects belonging to the complex”.

“It is important that we reform the food system with all the actors connected to it because that is the only way the change will succeed,” Tuomas Salusjärvi, director of Valio’s growth operations, research and product development, said.

“The global change in food production is also an opportunity for Finnish production as the global demand for food and the importance of northern production areas are growing. By being pioneers in sustainable food production, we can create added value for food produced in Finland and improve its profitability and international competitiveness.”

The project aims to have at least one hundred partners in the network. The goal of Valio and the cooperation network is to achieve a total of €100m additional investment in research and development activities in Finland over the five years, and “to increase exports linked to the food system by more than €1bn in the years following the project”, the dairy group said.

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It added that it is the first company in the food industry that Business Finland has “chosen as a leading company”. 

Business Finland CEO Nina Kopola said: “Business Finland wants to be strongly involved in the work aimed at reforming the food system. All the services we offer contribute to strengthening the goals set by the locomotive project.”

Valio revealed last month that around 130 employees could lose their jobs in a round of restructuring.

The group also announced another investment in December, injecting €10m to renovate a cold storage area at a factory in its home market of Finland to boost efficiencies in production.