Fazer explores new opportunities within upcycling

Helsinki / FI. (fg) Fazer Group took a step towards becoming a forerunner in foodtech solutions in 2021 when the technology business unit Fazer Foodtech was established. Now Fazer Foodtech has initiated a long-term R+D programme focusing on finding new ways to upcycle side-streams and surplus materials. The Upcycled programme has received funding from Business Finland, and it will continue until 2026.

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The demand for natural and sustainable ingredients is growing in various industries, and Fazer has access to multiple potential raw materials. During the past years, Fazer has invested heavily in developing plant-based products and pioneering in various sustainable solutions based on Nordic oats. In addition to food innovations, Fazer is pursuing opportunities in fields that are new to the company, such as personal care.

To accelerate innovation, Fazer has initiated a three-year R+D programme called Fazer Upcycled. With this programme Fazer takes a proactive leadership position in developing sustainable ingredients for the food industry based on upcycled side-stream. The idea is to pilot and develop completely new prototypes of different solutions which then can be further developed into sustainable consumer products. Another important goal is to promote entry to non-food markets, such as personal care, as well as strengthen the internationalisation and export efforts especially in B2B functional ingredients.

In March 2023, Business Finland – a governmental organisation for innovation funding and trade, travel, and investment promotion – granted funding for the Fazer Upcycled programme.

«Business Finland’s funding for our Fazer Upcycled programme is essential, and we highly appreciate their support. The concrete goal of this programme is to develop several, new, upcycled plant-based ingredients that can be utilised in industries ranging from food and nutrition to personal care and other non-food applications,» says Jussi Loponen, VP, Fazer Group R+D.

«There are many similarities in Fazer’s and Business Finland’s strategies. Sustainability plays a significant role in our operations, and Fazer aims at reducing food loss and the environmental impact of its own production and in the whole value chain. We see the Fazer Upcycled programme as a very potential and important initiative in the work towards these goals. Through our funding we want to support Fazer in its efforts, and Finland in becoming a superpower of sustainable development,» says Senior Advisor Aleksej Leppänen from Business Finland.

Fazer Foodtech combines sustainable ingredients with technology

Fazer Foodtech business unit was established to answer some of the health and climate challenges of the modern world. In this business unit, plant-based raw materials are transferred through innovation and by applying state-of-the-art technology into sustainable ingredients. In part, Fazer uses its own side-streams and creates new products and solutions through upcycling.

«We are continuously developing new solutions that allow us to improve our material efficiency and add value to underutilised production streams or side streams – this is what we call upcycling,» says Loponen.

«Fazer Xylitol is a great example of circular economy and upcycling. Fazer Xylitol is produced from oat hulls – a side stream from our own oat mill – at our state-of-the-art xylitol factory in Lahti, Finland. Fazer Xylitol is a natural sweetener and a substitute for sugar, but it also offers plenty of other opportunities for product development for instance in personal care and pharmaceutical industry,» Loponen adds.

Fazer’s sustainability work is divided into four key focus areas: Climate + Circularity, Sustainable products + Innovations, Sustainable sourcing, and People + Well-being. Innovating to create new sustainable food solutions through foodtech and reducing food loss and food waste are integrated into these ambitions that guide Fazer’s actions (Photo: Fazer Group).

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