Finnish food company Fazer will build a €10.7 million facility in Finland capable of producing xylitol from oat hulls.
The new facility will be built near Lahti, about 100km north of Helsinki, next to the site where Fazer is investing €40 million in a new plant-based food factory.
The company called the xylitol expansion “the most significant investment in a new line of business in the history of Fazer”.
Anna Nicol, vice-president of the firm’s xylitol venture, said: “It is fantastic to be able to strengthen the Finnish knowhow in oats and to bring the production of domestic xylitol back to Finland. Our mill in Lahti is a world-class forerunner in oat products. With this investment, we will become the first industrial actor utilising oat hulls to produce value-added oat products.”
The company intends to export the oat-derived xylitol for use worldwide.
The new production facility, located next to Fazer’s oat mill in Lahti, is the world’s first xylitol plant utilising raw materials originating from the company’s own production. The Lahti oat mill produces several million kilograms of oat hulls as a side stream every year. Previously, the oat hulls have been used as animal feed or biofuel.
The project to construct the xylitol plant – awarded to Swedish company NCC – covers the plant itself as well as related auxiliary equipment, area works and an extension to the mill area’s car park. The total land area involved is 4,000 square metres.
Once completed, the development will represent a significant investment in a crop that Finland exports $65 million’s worth of every year – third only to Australia and Canada in terms of the world’s largest exporters of oats.
Construction work began in February with the logging of timber and the removal of topsoil. Actual construction work will start this week, with installations of the production equipment due by the end of the year. The plant will go live in late 2020.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019