Raisio strengthens R&D for new health strategy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New product launches, Nutrition, Finland

Finland's Raisio Group is boosting its R&D capabilities as it
seeks to turn itself into a major player in functional and health
foods and food diagnostics.

The company announced last month the sale of its chemicals unit to concentrate on its other divisions - life sciences, or the new diagnostics business and the cholesterol-lowering ingredient Benecol, and nutrition, which traditionally operated in margarine and grain milling.

The company says new R&D centres for both foods and food diagnostics will speed up development of new products to widen its portfolio of health foods and functional ingredients. Raisio​ currently makes only plant sterols and stanol esters, sold under the Benecol brand.

However it is planning to strengthen the nutrition unit's activities in eastern Europe, following on from the recent opening of a margarine plant in Russia. This unit is also expected to cooperate more closely with the ingredients business to develop functional foods, concentrating on Finland, the Baltic area and Eastern European markets as areas with considerable potential for new product launches.

The new nutritional research centre will be located at Viikki campus in Helsinki and there will also be further investments in product development and quality assurance at Raisio's production sites.

The research centre for food diagnostics will start up operations in the Biocity of Turku in May, developing new rapid tests.

Two new appointments, including former R&D director at dairy firm Valio Annika Mäyrä-Mäkinen, will also boost the research and development arm.

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