Fazer builds €40m xylitol factory in Lahti, Finland
Fazer is investing €40m in an oat hull based xylitol manufacturing facility in Finland to enter the xylitol market.
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, a sweetener which is used in chewing gum and pastilles.
“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,” said Christoph Vitzthum, President and CEO, Fazer Group.
“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.”
Fazer says that 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 and 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.
Modern consumers are seeking healthier options to replace refined white sugar and xylitol offers 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.
The Lahti investment will take place in 2019-2020 and will create 30 new jobs. Works at the site began in February 2019.
Fazer is also developing its business and product portfolio with special focus on growth and consumer trends. The company’s aim is to transform into a modern sustainable food company and is targeting further expansion in Northern Europe and beyond. Over the last three years, Fazer has invested approximately €195m in total, of which €136m have been invested in Finland.