Valio has expanded cheese production at its Haapavesi plant in Central Finland to meet growing demand in Russia and Finland.
Annual production of Valio Oltermanni cheese has increased by about five million kilos to about 30 million kilos as a result of a 17 million euro investment programme. The programme also includes a cheese maturation unit at the Lappeenranta terminal.
The expansion of the Haapavesi plant has enabled Valio to respond more effectively to the growing demand for Valio Oltermanni cheese in Finland, and especially in Russia which imports more than half of the production, the company says.
The new maturation unit built in Lappeenranta is able to handle the increased capacity. A quarter of Valio exports to Russia is transported via Lappeenranta.
Valio Oltermanni is the best-selling cheese brand in Finland where sales volume grew by 10 per cent in 2011.
Demand for the cheese in Russia has increased by 50 per cent since 2009 and the sales volume already exceeds that in Finland.
Cheese markets in Russia and the CIS countries are expected to grow overall by two to three times their current size.
Valio Oltermanni is one of Valio’s strategically important brands, and this investment allows us to continue growing in Finland and especially in Russia, says Karl-Magnus Lindfors, Vice President, Cheese at Valio.
The investment will increase the raw milk volume used by the Valio Haapavesi plant by around 50 million litres, putting the total volume of milk taken in up to 300 million litres per year.
The raw milk is collected within an average distance of 90 kilometres from the plant and produced by around 900 dairy farms. Milk is the most important agricultural product in the province of Northern Ostrobothnia.