Valio has held an unveiling ceremony for its China head office in Shanghai. The newly established head office will focus on serving the Chinese market. Besides the Ingredient business units, Valio China has also established the new business units of Retail and Food Service.
During the 30+ years since entering the Chinese market in 1986, Valio has witnessed the high-speed growth of the Chinese economy and has worked with partners to drive the improvement of China’s dairy industry. Shanghai’s favourable location, the capability of global resource allocation and the economic concentration of headquarters can help Valio build its global sales, marketing and service networks, and reinforce its overall competitiveness and influence both in the Chinese market and globally.
Valio’s connection with China dates back to 1986 when Valio collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture of China to help develop China’s dairy industry by providing milk production knowledge training in Finland and Beijing. Valio DEMI™ demineralized whey powders entered the China market in 1990. Thanks to Valio’s demineralization process and the pure quality from Finland, the product was widely used to produce infant formulas as well as chocolates and ice creams. Since then, Valio has been driving its growth in China by establishing a sales, marketing and service system to provide professional and innovative solutions for the premium dairy ingredients market in addition to demineralized whey powders and skimmed milk powders. Furthermore, Valio opened flagship stores on e-commerce platforms, such as JD.com and Tmall.com in 2017 to provide consumers with high-quality enjoyment from Finland.
For Valio, 2017 was a good year from a business development perspective: net sales increased by 4.3 percent, and Valio was able to pay the co-operatives a steady milk price despite the challenging market situation. Valio introduced more than 100 new products and maintained a positive growth trend in added value products both in Finland and in exports. In addition to existing export markets, we also entered new consumer markets. Other significant events of the year included the commissioning of the world’s most modern snack plant in Riihimäki and the historically most extensive quality and production reforms to improve animal welfare.
Valio Group net sales in 2017 were EUR 1,708 million (EUR 1,638 million in 2016). Domestic net sales remained unchanged and international net sales increased by 12.4 percent. Valio continued its growth particularly in Sweden, the Baltics, Russia and China. The milk margin was EUR 797 million (772 million) and the milk return was 37.9 cents per liter. The milk market situation remained challenging despite the overall economic growth.
Valio’s unsalted butter won Best of Class at the World Championship Cheese Contest 2018 in Wisconsin, USA, on March 8. There were 30 leading butter brands from around the world participating in the unsalted butter class. Butter is one of Valio’s most important export products and a premium product enjoyed around the world: Valio butter is exported to more than 30 countries and is a product favoured by French bakeries, among others.
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Valio’s nutrition agreement helps consumers to reduce their use of sugar and salt, and makes it easier to make low-salt choices or recipes. From 2015 – 2020, Valio will double the number of snack products it makes that are unflavoured, sugar-free, and with 20 – 50% less sugar than before. The goal for reducing salt content is to sell seven million kilos of Valio ValSa® reduced-salt products annually by 2020. Valio will also provide details of the amount of salt in all Valio recipes by 2020.
Valio’s low-salt product range, cheeses and spreads with Valio ValSa®, was launched in 2016, and by the end of 2017 almost four million kilograms of these products were sold. The goal is to bring the annual sale of Valio ValSa® products up to seven million kilos by 2020.
Valio introduces a new range of plant-based products: the spoonable Valio Oddlygood™ gurts and the Valio Oddlygood™ oat drink – both made from Finnish oats at Valio’s Riihimäki and Turenki plants, in Finland. The new gurts and the oat drink will be available in stores in Finland in February 2018 and in Sweden in spring 2018. Milk will continue to be the focus of Valio’s operations also in the future, and the new product innovations complement our offering.
Valio’s new plant-based products complement Valio’s milk-, fruit- and berry-based product offering. Valio Oddlygood™ gurts are a spoonable, yogurt-style snack made from Finnish oats. The Valio Oddlygood™ oat drink is also made from Finnish oats and can be enjoyed on its own or used in smoothies or for baking or cooking.
Valio will launch its brand in the UK at Food Matters Live this year. It will unveil its Fresh Finnish Thinking through a portfolio of unique, on trend product, which will appear on supermarket shelves in 2018.
Following extensive testing of a range of products that have experienced success in other markets, Valio is planning a comprehensive marketing campaign for the introduction of Valio Gefilus® Kefir yoghurts, Valio Finnish spreadable butters and cheddar with ValSa®, and Valio Master Butter Makers butter.
Ross Crittenden, Valio’s Executive VP of New Markets said: “We are excited to bring Valio’s Fresh Finnish Thinking to the UK. Our 110-year heritage of craftsmanship and tradition delivers the authenticity and provenance UK consumers demand. Valio’s innovative, new products are inspired by nature and driven by “sisu”, the uniquely Finnish passionate, spirited and determined characteristic that determines the Valio way of doing things.”
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.
Significant resources have also been invested in effective and efficient food loss management has also been invested. The manufacturing and packaging equipment are designed to minimise product loss. The standards of hygiene in the plant are top-class, since the manufacturing equipment is completely isolated from the surrounding environment. The rigorous standards of hygiene reduce losses throughout the manufacturing chain, from the factory to the consumer’s table.
- The snack plant is the largest single investment in Valio’s history, with a value of EUR170 million.
- 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 is a five-storey building.
- More than 4,000 people were involved in building the plant during the three years of its construction. A total of about 1.1 million work hours went into construction of the plant.
- 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.
Finlands största mejeriföretag Valio lyckades nyligen öka produktionen på sin anläggning i Lapinlahti med över 10 procent. Produktionen på fabriken som tillverkar vasslepulver höjdes med hjälp av NAPCON Controller, en egenutvecklad lösning för avancerad processtyrning (Advanced Process Control, APC) från teknik- och konstruktionsföretaget Neste Jacobs. Resultaten var så övertygande att Valio nu ska optimera en ytterligare anläggning i Seinäjoki i Finland, en mjölkpulverfabrik bestående av en evaporator och en spraytork.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to lend up to EUR 30m to Valio, the Finnish dairy company, for its research, development and innovation investments related to nutrition, functionality and health impacts of dairy products. Furthermore, these investments aim to ensure better food security through innovative solutions for more efficient food production.
Valio’s investment programme focuses on research activities in the fields of dairy chemistry and technology, nutritional expertise, product development and consumer preferences. It also includes purchases of piloting equipment for laboratories, systems dedicated to implementing the research and innovation programme as well as technology licensing expenses. The research and development activities will be carried out at Valio’s existing facilities in Helsinki.
The international launch of Valio’s world-class premium artisan butter for consumers is in full swing and the new products are on show at the Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai, February 2017. Valio has over 112 years of experience producing butter and promoting its export. At the moment, Valio is selling butter in nearly 30 countries.