Fazer continues to develop its business and is investing 40 million euros in an oat hull based xylitol manufacturing facility in Finland to enter the xylitol market. The investment will strengthen Fazer’s position as a forerunner in value added grain-based products. In Fazer’s oat milling process, a substantial amount of oat hulls are derived as a side stream. Oat hulls contain xylose which can be used to produce xylitol.
“We have at hand an innovation where we combine patentable new technology, healthier options to consumers and an excellent example of an innovative circular economy solution. We believe that xylitol from a plant-based Nordic raw material with a Nordic origin will create interest also outside Finland and the Nordic countries, even globally. We plan to expand the xylitol production to our mill in Sweden, too. I’m proud of this example of the fearless creativity at Fazer, and we are excited about the new opportunities ahead of us,” says Christoph Vitzthum, President and CEO, Fazer Group.
Plant-based products and solutions are strategic growth areas for Fazer
Fazer is investing in the development of new production technologies and solutions. Producing xylitol from oat hulls is a true innovation with totally new technology. The production process is unique due to the raw material which, until now, has not been commercially utilised. Currently, oat hulls are used mainly for energy production.
The xylitol factory will be built next to Fazer’s oat mill on the Lahti site: The factory will be the first fully backward integrated xylitol manufacturing facility in the world capable of producing many forms of xylitol, supporting the market needs of the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
The xylitol market is growing
Modern consumers are seeking healthier options to replace refined white sugar. Xylitol offers excellent potential for future product development.
The xylitol market is growing and Fazer aims to be the only xylitol manufacturer producing xylitol from a plant-based raw material with Finnish origin. Furthermore, xylitol is an important ingredient for Fazer’s confectionery business - Fazer is the only company producing chewing gum in Finland.
Fazer published the first news about the Lahti investment in January. The major investment will take place in 2019-2020. It will create 30 new jobs at Fazer in Lahti and also indirectly employ people. Works at the Fazer site in Lahti started in February 2019.
Fazer targets further expansion in Northern Europe and beyond
Sustainability is a constantly growing trend and consumers are increasingly interested in plant-based solutions. Fazer is developing its business and product portfolio with special focus on growth and consumer trends. Fazer’s aim is to transform into a modern sustainable food company. In line with the company strategy, Fazer targets further expansion in Northern Europe and beyond. The investment in Lahti supports this direction. The oat hull xylitol factory will be a part of the Fazer Lifestyle Foods business area.
During the past three years, Fazer has invested approximately 195 million euros in total, of which 136 million euros have been invested in Finland.
A few facts about xylitol
- Industrial production of xylitol is a Finnish innovation.
- In Finland industrial production started in 1975.
- The most popular xylitol products are chewing gum and pastilles.
- Xylitol is a sweetener produced from xylose, which is found in various trees and plants, e.g. birch, beech, corn and berries.
- Xylitol is low in calories (60% of calories of sugar) but as sweet as sugar.
- Xylitol has an approved EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) health claim.
- The daily use of xylitol is globally recommended by many dental associations to reduce the risk of caries.
- Fazer is the only domestic xylitol chewing gum manufacturer in Finland.