Construction of Valio’s snack factory in Riihimäki is the company’s largest single investment in the company’s history.
Valio’s CEO Annikka Hurme points out that the company also received offers from elsewhere for the siting of its new EUR 170 million factory, which opened in August. “With a greenfield project like this, all options are on the table,” she says.
“Logistics is critically important in the production of dairy products, and Riihimäki’s location is ideal in that respect. Firstly, there are sufficient dairy farms in the environs of Riihimäki: milk is delivered to the plant from an average distance of 98 kilometres away. Secondly, the plant is near the market: one-half of Finns live in our operating region. To round this off, the expertise needed in snack production was already situated in Riihimäki, because of the location of our old plant.”
One decisive factor was also that Riihimäki was able to provide a 53-hectare plot of land for the factory site – an area that could accommodate 75 official-sized football fields.
The new snack factory will initially generate 70 new jobs. Together with the old plant, it will employ some 440 people.
Hurme admits that an investment of EUR 170 million in plant is very rare in the Finnish food processing industry.
“The service life of a food processing plant is measured in decades, so we don’t build them very often. Nevertheless, we can’t let the grass grow under our feet. Although the old plant at Riihimäki is constantly being modernised, at some point we have to take a leap forward. Business is about taking risks: when the time comes to make a decision, the decision must be made.”
Text: Jukka Saastamoinen
Photo: Valio’s new snack factory in Riihimäki, Valio Ltd