Fazer is The Food Experience Company, and by investing in innovations and Foodtech, Fazer strengthens its focus on the sustainable food solutions of the future. Fazer’s strategic focus on innovations has been recognised by the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation, which awarded Fazer’s xylitol factory as Star Act 2020 (Tähtiteko) on 27 November.

Innovations at the core of Fazer’s strategy

Sustainability in food and nutrition is high on Fazer’s agenda, and Fazer sees innovations as a key enabler in executing its strategy.

“We see food as a solution. How we grow, produce and consume food has a significant impact on the environment, on society and on our well-being. Innovations and Foodtech make the food system more productive, sustainable and healthy. As sustainability is an integral part of Fazer’s strategy, innovations supporting the circular economy, such as the production of xylitol from oat hulls, derived as a side stream from the oat milling process, represent a future direction for the food industry”, says Mats Liedholm, Managing Director of Fazer Lifestyle Foods, Fazer Group´s business area focusing on plant-based food solutions.

According to the award jury, Fazer’s xylitol is an excellent example of Finnish innovativeness and circular economy, combining export potential and consumers’ quests for healthier option. As a sweetener, xylitol offers plenty of opportunities for product development. The global demand for xylitol is growing rapidly and xylitol from oat hulls is expected to spark interest globally. It is estimated that approximately 90% of the production of the xylitol factory will be exported to be used in a variety of businesses such as food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Xylitol made of oat hulls is not Fazer’s only oat innovation. Earlier in November, Fazer was awarded the Swedish Food Award 2020 – Livsmedelspriset - for its innovative Havreris (Oat Rice). The revolutionary oat novelty is more nutritious and causes a significantly lower climate footprint than white rice and according to the nomination, Fazer sets an example as an inspiration for the entire industry.

Oat rice has been very well received by consumers in Sweden and it is now launched also elsewhere in the Nordic region.

“I am very excited about our recent oat innovations. They are not only truly consumer first, but also healthy and sustainable and testify on the motivation and innovativeness
of Fazer’s employees. I want to congratulate both teams on these fantastic achievements!”, says Mats Liedholm.

Fazer first to industrially produce xylitol from oat hulls

Fazer’s xylitol is produced from oat hulls, which are derived as a side stream of the oat milling process. The factory is located next to the mill in Lahti, Finland and is the first fully backwards integrated xylitol factory, using state-of-the-art technology for the production.

The plant will produce the biomass feedstock for an associated, third party CHP plant that will supply renewable heat and power to Fazer’s site in Lahti, thus reducing the climate footprint of its operations.

The construction of the xylitol factory has proceeded according to the plans. Currently, the process installations are in the final phase and test runs are ongoing. The actual production of xylitol will start in the spring 2021. The investment into the xylitol factory amounts to 50 million euros and is Fazer’s most significant investment in Finland in decades. The factory will further strengthen Fazer's position as a forerunner in innovative plant-based products.

Fazer’s other recent examples of investments in innovations include acting as a lead investor in Solar Foods, a Finnish Foodtech start-up, which has developed a novel protein ingredient, Solein® and over 30 M€ investments in its milling business, doubling the oat milling capacity in Lahti, Finland and in Lidköping, Sweden. Once the expansions have been finalised, Fazer will be number one in oat milling in the Nordic countries and one of the leading players in Europe.

Fazer believes in doing good

Fazer believes in doing good for the world around us and to show care for each other, as individuals as well as a society. One way for Fazer to be part of peoples’ lives, bringing joy and comfort for the tough times, is through donations. Therefore, Fazer has decided to donate the whole prize, 10,000 euros, to the Christmas Tree campaign to help families in need in the Lahti area.

The Star Act 2020 winner was nominated from among top six finalists. According to the jury, all candidates embodied the food and beverage industry’s ability to renew, grow and innovate.

The purpose of the competition is to increase awareness of the Finnish food and beverage industry and to bring to the fore the diverse expertise in the field and its pioneering ideas. The Star Act 2020 competition was organised by the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation.

Additional information:
Fazer’s media phone line is open Mon–Fri from 8:00 to 16:00 EET, tel. +358 40 668 2998, media@fazer.com