According to Pekka Kuusniemi, president and CEO of Raisio, the company has readied its oat business to respond to the uptick in international demand.
“Thanks to the investments, our oat mill is now in top working condition,” said Kuusniemi.
“We increased the mill capacity and our ability to manufacture different oat products to meet the growing demand in Finland and the rest of Europe. The oat boom is just beginning in Europe now, so the growth perspectives are quite interesting.”
The popularity of oats is soaring on the back of the mounting plant-based movement – tipped as this year’s second biggest trend by Innova Market Insights - along with the growth of dairy-free alternatives.
As such, the company also invested around €45m ($50m) to build a production facility to manufacture plant-based added-value products, which Kuusniemi said “supports one another, since the oat mill can now provide ingredients that are needed by the new production facility rising in Raisio’s industrial area.”
The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
Raisio will begin rolling out the first Elovena products at the end of this month.
Targeting international consumers
“While our short-term growth expectations are focused, in particular, on the export of oat products to industrial customers, our overall strategic goal is to further build our Elovena brand in a way that will draw greater interest from international consumers,” he added.
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain, but are typically ‘contaminated’ with small amounts of other grains under normal production conditions. Several different purification phases are involved to produce gluten-free oats products, which removes or eliminates other grains. Rasio notes its products are tested at various stages to ensure they are completely gluten-free.
The mill can also produce oat products with a high beta-glucan content. Beta-glucan helps to reduce cholesterol and prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Raisio is a global company specialising in healthy, responsibly produced foods under the brand names Benecol, Elovena, Nalle and Sunnuntai.
The listed company posted net sales of €228m ($254m) in 2018.