Valio opens "world's most modern" €170 million snack plant

21 Aug 2017

Finnish dairy company Valio has opened what it claims is the world’s most modern snack plant in Valio Riihimäki, Southern Finland. The plant cost €170 million to build.

Valio opens world's most modern €170 million snack plant

Finnish dairy company Valio has opened what it claims is the world’s most modern snack plant in Valio Riihimäki, Southern Finland. The plant, which cost €170 million to build, is said to use the latest environmentally-friendly technology.

“Innovation, a wonderful taste, and responsible manufacturing practices. These are the things that people expect from their snacks, and our new snack plant meets these needs,” said Valio CEO Annikka Hurme. “The plant is a concrete example of how seriously we take our responsibilities, since many loss-reducing and natural resource-saving choices were made in its planning and construction. The new plant also combines Valio Riihimäki’s 50-year tradition of yoghurt manufacturing with the most advanced technology.”

“We at Valio believe in the future of responsible dairy production and profitable milk processing,” said Vesa Kaunisto, Chairman of the Board at Valio. “The continued profitability of dairy farming is best ensured when the company they own, Valio, succeeds in a competitive field and, therefore, remains able to pay a good price to its shareholders through cooperatives. This modern snack plant makes us even more competitive, both in Finland and on the export market.” Kaunisto adds that once the snack plant comes into operation, almost half of its production will be for the export market, for the time being largely Sweden and Denmark. “However, in the future we expect to expand to other countries.”

The plant uses about 30% less energy per unit of production than the old factory Valio Riihimäki. To achieve maximum energy efficiency, the plant makes efficient use of the waste heat generated during manufacturing. In the new type of refrigerated warehouse, the products are cooled quickly, while saving energy at the same time. The products are cooled by the free cooling method, so that in colder weather the low outside temperature is used to make the process more energy-efficient. Thanks to the energy-saving technology and heat recovery systems, the new plant uses energy production from the existing heat production plant. In other words, there was no need to expand capacity. More than three-quarters of the thermal energy used at Valio Riihimäki comes from renewable fuel.

In the first phase, the plant will manufacture products that are already familiar to Finnish consumers, such as the Valiojogurtti yogurt tange. Once the plant becomes fully operational, Valio says that consumers around the world will also be able to enjoy a whole new kind of innovative snack products that are both healthy and delicious. New types of recipes for snacks will be used in the new plant that will take advantage of new ways of reducing sugar, be able to vary the protein or fat content of products.

Construction of the new snack plant began in 2014 and took about three years. The plant site covers an area of about 53 hectares, of which about 265,000 square metres are floor space. The area of the plant building is approximately 20,000 square metres. The plant has an annual production capacity of around 120 million kilos. Valio employs a total of about 440 people at Valio Riihimäki plants and in total Valio provides employment for more than 4,000 employees.