CategoriesStock exchange release Press release Latest news
Responsibility at Apetit News from Apetit Group Wellbeing from vegetables
Competition Authority has approved the sale of Apetit’s Grain Trade busines...
Apetit Plc, Inside information on 10 May 2022 at 11:20 a.m.
Organisational meeting of the Supervisory Board and election of the Board o...
Apetit Plc, Stock Exchange Release, 6 May 2022 at 08:30 a.m.
Decisions by the Annual General Meeting of Apetit Plc
Apetit Plc, Stock exchange release, 5 May 2022 at 1:45 p.m.
The profitability of Apetit’s continuing operations was lower than in the c...
Apetit Plc, Stock Exchange Release, 26 April 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
Apetit updates its profit guidance to correspond the current continuing ope...
Apetit Plc, Inside information on 21 April 2022 at 08:15 a.m.
Apetit determined the carbon footprint of rapeseed oil
Apetit carried out a carbon footprint study for domestic rapeseed oil. The carbon footprint of the Apetit rapeseed oil sold in PET plastic bottles through retail channels is 2.7 kg CO2 equivalent per kg. Up to 87 per cent of climate impacts are generated by primary production. The relatively high share of primary production in the carbon footprint of rapeseed oil is partly explained by the natural harvest level of oilseed plants. The share of the Kantvik vegetable oil milling plant, i.e. oil processing, in the product’s climate impacts was very small (3 per cent). This is due in particular to the high share of renewable energy resources used at the milling plant and the plant’s energy efficiency. Packaging and bottling account for 10 per cent of the product’s climate impacts. The carbon footprint was also calculated for the Neito rapeseed oil in glass bottles: the carbon footprint of this product was approximately 7 per cent higher. According to the study results, the most significant climate impacts of rapeseed oil during its life cycle come from primary production. Avena, responsible for Apetit Group’s Oilseed Products business, takes part in the RypsiRapsi2025 project, which aims at finding and spreading the best cultivation practices and developing harvest levels. The carbon footprint of domestic rapeseed oil was calculated, as far as possible, using the figures of Apetit’s own value chain, i.e. primary data. Five-year cultivation data were used in the calculation of the climate impacts of domestic rapeseed cultivation. Apetit commissioned the study from the Natural Resources Institute Finland. How the climate impacts of Apetit rapeseed oil arise:
We are updating the material themes of our corporate responsibility
We are updating the material themes of our corporate responsibility - by answering the survey, you can influence Apetit's corporate responsibility actions Apetit is updating the material themes of its corporate responsibility. The material themes determine the key actions and objectives of the Apetit Group's corporate responsibility. It is therefore important for Apetit to hear the views of its stakeholders on what food industry company, which is firmly based on Finnish primary production, should pay particular attention to in its corporate responsibility. Sustainable actions Sustainable actions is one of the strategic choices of Apetit's renewed strategy. During the current year, we have, among other things, developed and implemented environmentally friendly cultivation methods, improved the material efficiency of production and promoted the use of renewable energy sources. By answering the survey, you can influence the emphasis on actions in the Apetit Group's corporate responsibility. We hope for the most comprehensive answers possible so that we can do our best to meet the expectations on Apetit Group's corporate responsibility. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the survey. The survey is closed. Thank you for answers!
Safety at work is developed by means of proactive operating model
Safety at work plays a significant role at Apetit and is one of the key themes of its personnel strategy. The goal is to reduce occupational accidents to zero and to reduce sickness absences. Safety at work training is organised at all Apetit Group operating locations. In 2019, some 280 Apetit employees took part in safety at work training. In addition to on-site safety training and occupational health and safety days organised at the production plants, topics related to safety at work are regularly covered in Apetit’s online learning environment. The training activities have led to a substantial increase in the number of safety observations, for example. Key measures to develop safety at work include increasing communication about occupational safety, in addition to more systematic safety observation practices and the further development and harmonisation of location-specific occupational health and safety committees. In order to prevent occupational accidents, Apetit regularly updates occupational safety guidelines. In addition, we have improved our know-how in risk evaluation and incident investigation and systematically conducted risk assessments regarding production tasks. In 2019, Apetit continued to offer a reward for days without any incidents at each location.
Räpi Experimental farm is part of Carbon Action project
Apetit’s Räpi experimental farm, located in the Satakunta region, joined the Carbon Action project along with more than a hundred other Finnish farms. Carbon Action promotes the wider adoption of climate-friendly farming practices, helps farmers implement farming practices that sequester carbon and improve soil fertility, and conducts scientific research to verify soil carbon storage. Carbon Action is a joint project by the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) and it combines top-level research with work in the field by farmers. Apetit is offering the use of the Räpi experimental farm for the project for a period of five years to promote research, development and practices associated with carbon farming. Apetit has made a Baltic Sea commitment for 2019-2025 Apetit made a Baltic Sea commitment for BSAG for the period 2019-2025. The core purpose of Apetit’s commitment is to generate data that can be used in contract growing especially in improving soil fertility and related to carbon sequestration. The objective is to promote, through Apetit’s contract growers, a sustainable food chain and to commercialise carbon farming methods that help sequester carbon. The commitment has two parts: Apetit will include the best growing practices proven by the carbon pilot in its contract farmers’ farming guidelines and provide training to all of its contract farmers on farming methods that improve soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Apetit will also include the Räpi experimental farm in the research project to promote measures that advance carbon farming. Under the commitment, Apetit will also join the company network of the Carbon Action platform which enables the various parties in the food chain to collaborate and to develop their own operations with regard to carbon farming.
Apetit reduces its environmental impacts by investment in a bioenergy plant
One of the objectives of Apetit’s corporate responsibility programme is to reduce the Group’s carbon dioxide emissions* per production tonne by half by the end of 2022, using the current level as the baseline. This target will be achieved with the help of the bioenergy plant to be built at the Kantvik vegetable oil milling plant. Oil milling is the Group’s most energy-intensive process. The bioenergy plant will replace the current energy solution based on non-renewable fuels, which means it will have a significant impact on CO2 emissions. The bioenergy plant will also make the production facility more self-sufficient with regard to energy. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the bioenergy plant creates the opportunity to make more efficient use of production side streams in energy production. The bioenergy plant can be used to burn byproducts such as the straw waste included in seed deliveries and waste from screening processes. In the future, the steam energy required by the plant will be produced by the bioenergy plant. The plant is scheduled to be completed in the end of 2020. The size of the investment is EUR 5.2 million. *The calculation of Apetit’s climate impacts is based on the energy consumption of the company’s production plants and the way the energy is generated.
Packaging protects the product
The main purpose of food packaging is to protect the product. Good packaging makes processing easier in the distribution chain, keeps the product fresh, ensures product safety and protects the product, thus preventing food waste. Good packaging also tells the consumer about the product’s content and properties. Plastic is used for food packaging because it is such a versatile material. It is light and durable, which is good for logistics, and it provides excellent protection for many types of products. Around 20 per cent of the packaging material used by Apetit is currently plastic. Roughly half of this material can be reused if it is recycled. For instance, the Apetit Tuorekset containers are recyclable plastic. 70 per cent of their raw material is recycled. Apetit continually improves its packaging to eco-friendlier. Apetit has the following goals for packaging materials made from plastic: to use recyclable packaging materials where possible to increase use of packaging materials made from renewable raw materials where possible to reduce the amount of packaging materials used by making them thinner where possible New handy bag-in-box packaging for rapeseed oil Apetit has launched a new, handy and easy-to-use bag-in-box rapeseed oil packaging of for professional kitchens. Thanks to a tap, the packaging is easy to use unlike heavy dispensers. The tap also prevents spillage. The packaging is also hygienic and protects the oil from sunlight and oxidation. Its environmentally-friendly corrugated cardboard box is made of 100 per cent recyclable raw material. When empty, the cardboard packaging can be recycled and the bag can be used as energy waste. Compared to conventional plastic dispensers the manufacturing of the bags requires almost 80 per cent lower amount of plastic.
CEO's review Q1/2022
Esa Mäki, CEO: “The significant increase in the prices of production inputs had a negative effect on the profit performance of continuing operations in the first quarter. The profitability of Food Solutions was reduced in particular by higher energy costs. The profitability of Oilseed Products was weighed down by the high costs of raw materials and logistics. Both businesses will continue to transfer the higher costs to sales prices. At the end of December, we announced that Apetit had signed an agreement to sell the Baltic operations of the Grain Trade business to Scandagra Group. The sale concerned the business operations of Avena’s companies in Estonia and Lithuania. The transactions for both companies were completed as planned in March. In connection with these divestments, we decided to close our Latvian company. The Latvian company primarily provided logistics support for wheat and oilseed plants sourced in Lithuania. In March, we announced the sale of the Finnish operations of the Grain Trade business to Berner Ltd. The transaction will be carried out as a business transfer including Avena’s Finnish grain trade business, as well as its grain stocks and port operations in Finland. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter. The completion of the sale is subject to approval by the competition authority. Once completed, the divestment of the Grain Trade business will improve Apetit’s profitability and allow Apetit to focus on the growth and development of its processing businesses, namely the Food Solutions and Oilseed Products businesses. The operating environment and competitive landscape in the Grain Trade business has changed drastically during the past few years. The operating conditions have continuously become increasingly challenging for a company that operates purely as a grain seller. In the upcoming cultivation season, our target for contract growing is the previously established level of just over 30 million kilograms of domestic vegetables. In addition to contract farming, we will continue to implement a number of projects at our experimental farm to seek ways to improve soil fertility and water economy, for example, and to develop the cultivation of various legumes, such as chickpeas, to correspond to the needs of the industry. This will present us with the opportunity to further increase our degree of domestic origin and our self-sufficiency with regard to specialty plants. We will continue our efforts to increase the cultivation area and harvest size of oilseed plants in Finland. Due to the significant increase in the prices of oilseed plants, the profitability of cultivation is at an attractive level from the farmer’s perspective, and there is certain demand for oilseed plant raw material in the Finnish food industry. Highquality rapeseed oil is valued and in high demand in all sales channels: industry, professional kitchens and retail. The BlackGrain rapeseed ingredient, which is currently in small-scale production, responds to the need to increase the availability of plant-based proteins. Our development efforts are focused on moving the production to an industrial scale. Apetit’s corporate responsibility programme sets a target of reducing the CO2 emissions from Apetit’s own operations by 75 per cent by 2025. The most significant emission reductions are achieved from the bioenergy plant completed at the Kantvik vegetable oil milling plant, which became operational last year, and the new energy solution to be deployed in Säkylä. The energy solution at the Säkylä frozen foods plant will use heat-capturing technology and renewable energy to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent. The new energy solution is scheduled to be deployed in the second quarter of 2023. To date, we have reduced the Group’s emissions by over 50 per cent compared to the baseline year specified in our corporate responsibility programme. Phasing out the use of fossil fuels and having a fixed price for electricity will also significantly reduce the Group’s energy costs in the next few years. In general, Apetit has successfully achieved its goal of ensuring the health and safety of employees and undisrupted operations throughout the food supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, sicknessrelated absences caused by the pandemic have significantly increased during the early part of the year. Apetit will continue to promote sustainable food supply chains in a profitable manner.”
CEO's review Q4/2021
Esa Mäki, CEO: “Apetit Group’s net sales in the fourth quarter were at the same level with the comparison period but profitability declined. Towards the end of the year, profitability was weakened especially by the rise in energy costs and the increase in the price of oilseed plant raw materials that had continued since the summer. At the annual level, our operating profit was lower than in the previous year due to the weak profitability of the Grain Trade business. The profitability of the Oilseed Products segment was burdened by the record-high raw material price and increased logistics costs. With regard to the refining margin, the situation will remain challenging early in the year. In Food Solutions, development has been, for the most part, very positive. The retail demand for food remained strong until the end of the year. Demand in the Food Service channel also continued to recover. In food exports, we strengthened our position especially in the Swedish retail sector with new customer relationships. Although the pea harvest fell significantly short of the target, which reduced export volumes towards the end of the year, the total annual value of exports increased by 5 per cent. Profitability improved in all sales channels. Our delivery reliability has also remained at an excellent level. In the Oilseed Products business, we continued our systematic work to commercialise the new rapeseed-based plant protein during the year. The small-scale production of the BlackGrain from Yellow Fields plant protein started in October 2021. The small-scale production enables customers to test BlackGrain in their own product development. At Apetit, BlackGrain was used for the first time in a commercial product in early 2022 as Apetit Vegetable Ball was launched for the HoReCa market. The Kantvik bioenergy plant was commissioned towards the end of the year. The plant significantly reduces the Group’s CO2 emissions and energy costs. In the bioenergy plant, we can also make full use of production side streams, such as the straw that comes with seeds. The side streams account for about 10 per cent of the total fuel amount. The total value of the investment was approximately EUR 7 million. We have succeeded in improving production efficiency throughout the Kantvik vegetable oil milling plant: records were achieved both in rapeseed milling and in oil refining. Increasing the cultivation of domestic oilseed plants in line with our goal supports our efforts to improve the profitability of the Oilseed Products segment in the new harvest season. In December, Apetit Group’s subsidiary Avena Nordic Grain agreed on selling the Baltic operations of the Grain Trade business to Scandagra Group, which is a leading agriculture company in the Baltic countries. This business transaction is in line with our strategy and will make the Grain Trade business significantly healthier. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of the year. The changing COVID-19 situation has required us to act flexibly and competently in implementing various exceptional arrangements. Regardless of this all, we have successfully achieved our goal of ensuring the health and safety of our employees and ensuring undisrupted operations throughout the food supply chain. For this, I would like to thank our personnel warmly. In the corporate responsibility programme published in spring 2021, Apetit set targets for every stage of the value chain. An important goal is to reduce the climate impacts of our own operations. In this area, we have identified the impacts of energy consumption as essential. Significant investments in both Kantvik and Säkylä in the use of renewable energy and the development of energy and material efficiency reduce our climate impacts considerably. Put together, they will propel us towards our goal of reducing our own direct CO2 emissions by 75 per cent by 2025.”
CEO's review Q3/2021
CEO Esa Mäki, July–September 2021: “Apetit Group’s net sales in the third quarter declined while profitability improved slightly year-on-year. In Oilseed Products, the exceptional and rapid increase in raw material prices has reduced the refining margin since the summer. In the Grain Trade segment, net sales declined substantially due to lower volumes caused by the poor harvest, with profitability being slightly lower than in the comparison period. In Food Solutions, profit performance has remained strong. Retail demand in the Food Solutions segment was at a good level. The Food Service channel has also continued its recovery from the low level seen during the pandemic. The Baltic Sea fish stick, launched in Finnish schools and kindergartens on Baltic Sea Day, significantly increased the channel's sales as a single product. In addition, exports to Sweden, in particular, have continued to grow. Increased prices in logistics, energy and packaging materials are creating pressure for increases in sales prices. Preparatory work, such as planning and orders of equipment and components for the pizza production line in Pudasjärvi, has progressed on schedule. The investment covers the modernisation of the entire production equipment in the existing building. At the same time, we are moving forward with product development to renew our range of products: our aim is to provide consumers in Finland with even more delicious frozen pizza made using domestic ingredients to the greatest possible extent. The redesigned range of pizzas will be launched next year. Enhancing the efficiency of production is a key aspect of our operations and the improvement of profitability. In Säkylä, we have invested in the processing of raw materials by upgrading the equipment used to wash vegetables. The new brush scrubbers significantly reduce water consumption. The investment is also significant from the perspective of raw material efficiency: the improved washing means that more of the vegetables are left to be processed for production. We are upgrading how peas are received at the start of the production line by investing in cleaning and processing equipment to increase capacity. Peas need to go from field to freezer within two hours, which naturally limits the cultivation area to the surroundings of the production facility, but the process is also directly dependent on the capacity of the production function to process peas quickly. Peas are Apetit’s most significant export product, with Italy and Sweden being the key markets. The investment supports our potential to increase pea exports in the future. The retail sales of our food products in Sweden have developed in line with our expectations. This autumn, we are launching on the Swedish market wok vegetables and a new vegetable mix. In addition to ICA, we have gained a foothold in other retail chains in Sweden this year. The value of food exports grew, amounting to EUR 4.4 (3.9) million in January–September in spite of pea exports being significantly lower than last year. The indications are that the overall harvest of field vegetables will be moderate. The harvest of early vegetables, such as peas and spinach, suffered from the hot and dry summer. In Oilseed Products, raw material prices have increased with exceptional speed – approximately 70 per cent in one year. The rate of price increases has been the highest since the summer. The profitability of Oilseed Products is decreased not only by the high raw material costs but also increasing freight costs. Raw material and freight costs are not expected to decrease in the near future, which weakens the outlook of the Oilseed Products segment for the remainder of the year. The start-up of small-scale production of the rapeseed ingredient to test the equipment at a subcontractor’s premises began in September. The start of small-scale production makes higher volumes possible and also allows our customers to test the ingredient in their products. In addition to making deliveries to customers, we will continue our own testing of end uses for the ingredient and the potential expansion of the product family. The ingredient will also be used in Apetit’s vegetable balls to be launched for the professional kitchen segment at the beginning of 2022. At the same time, we are planning the start of production on the commercial scale. According to our most recent harvest estimates, the rapeseed harvest will grow by just over a third. For autumn rapeseed, the area under cultivation increased compared to the previous harvest season, which can be considered good news: autumn oilseed plants yield higher harvests than spring oilseed plants and they are more resilient to pests. We are also pleased to have achieved our goal of increasing the number of contract growers and the area under contract cultivation. For grains, the harvest in Finland will be weak and the harvest in the Baltic countries will also be substantially smaller than last year. There are even clear shortages of certain grains. Grain prices have increased sharply both in Finland and the global market, especially since the late summer. The exceptional arrangements related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been discontinued in Apetit Group in accordance with the national recommendations. Throughout the pandemic, we have successfully achieved our goal of ensuring the health and safety of our employees and ensuring undisrupted operations throughout the food supply chain.”
CEO's review H1/2021
Esa Mäki, CEO: “Apetit Group’s net sales declined and profitability decreased year-on-year due to the continued weakening of the Grain Trade segment’s result. Oilseed Products continued its strong profit performance in the second quarter. The result of Food Solutions improved year-on-year but was slightly in the negative due to the seasonality of operations. On a positive note, the profit performance of Apetit’s processing businesses was good for the entire first half of the year. In Food Solutions, retail demand remained strong in the second quarter, with sales being boosted particularly by the mixed vegetable products launched in the spring and targeted at the barbecue season. A clear recovery from the effects of the corona pandemic has also been seen in the Food service channel. It is particularly pleasing that profitability improved substantially in all sales channels. In May, we announced we will invest approximately EUR 2 million in a new frozen pizza production line at our Pudasjärvi plant. The investment covers the modernisation of the entire production equipment in the existing building. The investment will bring about significant improvements to Apetit’s range of frozen pizzas, particularly with regard to taste and texture: we want to offer Finnish consumers even more delicious pizza made from ingredients with as high a degree of domestic sourcing as possible. The redesigned range of pizzas will be launched next year. Retail sales in Sweden continued to grow in line with our targets throughout the first half of the year, and we have recently also seen a slight recovery in the Swedish professional food service segment. The value of food exports grew by a third and amounted to approximately EUR 2.5 million in January–June. The demand for oilseed products remained strong in all product groups in the second quarter, with end product prices increasing substantially due to higher raw material costs. Towards the end of the review period, demand in the food service channel also returned to the pre-pandemic level. The excellent result was attributable to demand as well as the strong refining margin. Our focus in the development of our rapeseed ingredient has been on the commercialisation of the product development project. We will begin test production of the ingredient at a subcontractor’s premises in August–September. The produced rapeseed ingredient will be delivered later in the year for production testing by customers as well as to be sold. In the initial stage, the end product use of the ingredient will be focused on plant protein products and gluten-free baked goods. Our aim is to start commercial scale production in 2022. The Kantvik bioenergy plant was commissioned at the beginning of August. It significantly reduces the Group’s CO2 emissions and energy costs. Milling rapeseed to produce vegetable oil is the Group’s most energy-intensive production process. The result of Grain Trade was negatively affected by the difficult market conditions in the international wheat trade and the unsuccessful response to unpredictable market changes. After a peak in supply caused by the export tariffs imposed by Russia, the international demand for wheat was very weak in March–April. Consequently, the large wheat reserves in the Baltic countries were delivered in their entirety to customers in May–June at a significant loss. In addition, Finnish grain exports in the first half of the year were lower than usual due to the previous year’s small harvest. Exceptional arrangements related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue in Apetit Group. We are actively monitoring the situation and will react to any changes. Throughout the pandemic, we have successfully achieved our goal of ensuring the health and safety of our employees and ensuring undisrupted operations throughout the food supply chain. The current cultivation season has been primarily characterised by hot and dry weather conditions. Autumn oilseed plants have nevertheless thrived. The total area under cultivation for domestic oilseed plants this year grew by nearly a third compared to last year and the harvest outlook is positive. Apetit’s systematic efforts to increase the cultivation area of oilseed plants and interest in oilseed plant cultivation are continuing: the contract farming of oilseed plants has nearly doubled from last year. The domestic grain harvest is expected to be weaker than average. In the Baltic countries, the harvest is expected to be fair, but substantially lower than the record harvest last year. The harvest of outdoor-grown vegetables, excluding peas, is expected to be moderate. Corporate responsibility is an integral aspect of Apetit’s business throughout the value chain, from field to fork. As an example of this, we continuously develop our existing products as well as new products that respond to growing consumer demand for sustainable food choices. This autumn, we will strengthen our local fish strategy by expanding our product range with Baltic Sea fish fingers made from delicious herring caught in the Baltic Sea. Increasing the consumption of domestic fish has a significant impact on the health of Finland’s inland waters and the Baltic Sea: for example, the roach we used in 2020 saw us remove phosphorus from lakes in an amount that would otherwise have led to the growth of 60,000 bucketfuls of blue-green algae. Our sustainable food choices are meaningful.”
CEO's review Q1/2021
Esa Mäki, CEO: “Apetit Group’s first quarter was one of contrasts: the record-breaking profit performance of Food Solutions and Oilseed Products was very pleasing, but the result of the Grain Trade business was a big disappointment. Throughout the first quarter, the sales growth of Food Solutions was the highest in the retail and export segments. The strong retail sales were supported by the increase in eating at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as attractive new products and commercial successes. Our strategically important exports to Sweden have also seen strong growth in line with our targets: the year-on-year increase was 31 per cent. The Food Service channel continues to suffer from the restrictions related to COVID-19, such as the reduced scale of operations in school meal services and lunch restaurants. Our delivery reliability has been very high. Our employees have also largely remained healthy in spite of the prevailing COVID-19 situation. The market situation in the Grain Trade business remained very challenging throughout the first quarter. The profitability of Grain Trade was reduced by unforeseen market changes in the international wheat trade. The export duties introduced by Russia, which gradually entered into force in February–March, increased the supply of wheat in particular in February, leading to a rapid decrease in prices. After the sharp increase in supply in the spring, international demand has declined and a substantial write-down was recognised on the value of Apetit’s wheat inventories in the first quarter. Finnish grain exports have also been lower than usual due to the small harvest. The situation in the Grain Trade is not expected to improve before the next harvest. The total sales of rapeseed oil increased significantly. The strong growth of retail sales supports our strategy of increasing value added. The demand for rapeseed expeller has also been at a good level. The rising market prices of the products improved the refining margin in the first quarter. We are continuing our efforts related to the commercialisation of the rapeseed ingredient. The first customer deliveries for product application testing and test sales will begin in the late summer. Apetit has continued the construction of the Kantvik bioenergy plant with a new contractor starting from the beginning of March. The updated estimate is that the bioenergy plant will be fully operational in summer 2021. The change in supplier and the delay to the original schedule will not have a material impact on the project’s total cost. When completed, the bioenergy plant will reduce the Group’s energy costs and significantly decrease carbon dioxide emissions. Apetit has continued its purposeful efforts to increase the cultivation area and harvest size of oilseed plants in Finland. We have been active in signing cultivation agreements for the next autumn’s harvest and we are making good progress towards achieving the 50 per cent growth target set for increasing the domestic contract cultivation area for the upcoming cultivation season as a whole. The prices of oilseed plants are high, which has increased interest among farmers in the cultivation of oilseed plants. In the field vegetables category, our target for contract growing is the previously established level of just over 30 million kilograms of domestic vegetables. In addition to the cultivation of the familiar varieties we are accustomed to, we are involved in a project to study the development of the cultivation of cauliflower and various legumes, such as chickpeas, to satisfy the needs of the food industry. Our utilisation rate of domestic ingredients is already very high. Developing the production of cauliflower and legumes will give us access to even more domestic plants. As nitrogen-fixing plants, legumes also have considerable potential in crop rotation. Apetit published its updated corporate responsibility programme and related targets in March. One of our most significant and impactful targets is to achieve a 75 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. This will be accomplished by transitioning to renewable energy and improving our energy efficiency. Food-related consumption habits and choices play a significant role in promoting sustainable development and thereby reducing environmental impacts. As a food industry company, we have an excellent opportunity – and an obligation – to have an impact on the world. Our sustainability targets are comprehensively linked to the various stages of our value chain, from field to fork. Apetit will continue the systematic execution of its strategy with the primary goal being the improvement of profitability.”
CEO's review Q4/2020
Esa Mäki, CEO: “We determinedly continued to improve our profitability in the last quarter of the year. Annual profitability improved by nearly EUR 9 million. Profitability improvement is mainly attributable to strong demand for the Apetit brand products in retail trade, improved efficiency in our own operations and commercial successes both in Finland and in export trade. In the grain trade, we have focused on developing our trading ability, in line with our strategy: we have largely succeeded with this goal, although towards the end of the year, the outlook of grain price development had a negative impact on profitability. In the fourth quarter, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could still be seen most strongly in the Food Service channel of the Food Solutions business, where net sales decreased year-on-year in spite of a partial recovery of sales during the second half of the year. The sales of frozen products grew year-on-year in other channels, especially in retail trade and exports. In Oilseed Products and Grain Trade, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still remained minor. One of Apetit’s strategic focus areas is to strengthen the Swedish market as the primary focus area of food exports. We have made progress towards our goal in the Swedish retail trade and in November, we signed an agreement on the Food Service product sales with a local partner in Sweden. The cooperation started at the beginning of February. We will systematically continue to increase exports in selected markets. In 2020, the value of food exports was EUR 5.3 million. In December, the European Commission granted a novel food authorisation for Apetit’s rapeseed ingredient, the BlackGrain from Yellow Fields rapeseed powder. The novel food authorisation is the culmination of the BlackGrain product development work we have been doing for years. It also enables us to continue the development of new rapeseed-based ingredients. In addition, we promote to assess options related to the commercialisation of the ingredient. The commissioning of the bioenergy plant under construction in conjunction with the Kantvik vegetable oil milling plant will be further delayed due to reasons related to an equipment supplier. We are currently assessing different options for completing the construction work. The bioenergy plant is already at an advanced stage of construction and we are aiming to commission it during summer 2021. In order to ensure the availability of domestic rapeseed raw materials, we are continuing our determined work to increase oilseed plant cultivation area and harvest levels. In December 2020, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) granted a special permission for the spring 2021 regarding a preparation used in treating oilseeds. The possibility of treating oilseeds will support the cultivation of domestic rapeseed, thereby increasing harvest levels from their current low point. In addition to being in good and stable demand, oilseed plants offer a profitable opportunity to increase versatility of crop rotation. The renewed oilseed plant campaign for 2021 started at the beginning of February: we offer contract growers new benefits and tools for oilseed plant cultivation. The planning for the coming cultivation season is in full swing also for field vegetables. In the coming growing season, we will seek a record harvest in peas as its demand in the export markets continues to be strong. We are also constantly conducting research on new crops at our Räpi experimental farm and promoting the development of domestic vegetable-based proteins: an example of this is the broad bean, which we will again be growing at the experimental farm after an interim year. The harvest will be processed into products later in the autumn. Apetit published its updated strategy in May. We have proceeded effectively in all strategic focus areas: Optimising core business functions, Strong foothold in Sweden, Growth from plant-based added value products, Developing farming partnerships and Sustainable actions. In light of the 2020 results, we are well on track to reach our financial objectives by the end of the strategy period.”
High-quality vegetable oils from Finland
Avena is responsible for Apetit's Oilseed Products Business. The company is Finland's most significant producer of vegetable oils and oilseed-based raw materials for feeds. Its oilseed products are manufactured in its oil milling plant in Kirkkonummi, where rapeseed is processed into high-quality products with a very high added value. Avena uses around 90 per cent of the rapeseed grown in Finland in its oil milling plant in Kirkkonummi. The plant’s annual need for rapeseed is nearly 1.5 times higher than the harvest in Finland. For this reason, Avena is systematically seeking to increase rapeseed production in Finland in cooperation with growers and other operators over the long term. A production process of vegetable oils is based on physical minimal processing methods which use 99.9 per cent of the rapeseed to produce oil and rapeseed expellers. This pure and natural method is chemical-free. Through gentle heating, all of the valuable components – such as antioxidants, sterols and vitamins – are extracted more effectively than in cold pressing. Improving the quality of the fats consumed by Finns is in line with the objectives of nutrition commitments. Vegetable-based oils are an integral part of a healthy diet, as they contain soft and unsaturated fats. Rapeseed oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Apetit to eliminate bottlenecks in the organic food sector – launching an ...
The consumer demand for organic food is increasing rapidly.* However, there is a shortage of raw material supply: in spite of the growing market, half of Finnish farmers are not interested in moving into organic farming. This is revealed by the organic farming survey commissioned by Apetit. As a food company specialising in vegetables, Apetit believes in growth of the organic food sector and takes a strategic step by establishing a development programme for organic farming. With its programme, Apetit aims to develop organic farming methods in order to facilitate farmers’ changeover to organic farming and consequently to take organic farming to a whole new level. To develop organic farming, Apetit’s Räpi experimental farm in Köyliö begins to study and develop organic farming as part of Apetit’s proprietary Vastuuviljely (Responsible farming) method. Some of the fields of the experimental farm are turned into fields supporting organic farming. Practical farming problems as obstacles to the organic leap The survey commissioned by Apetit in August 2017 revealed that farmers’ general interest in organic farming has increased from the previous year. Nearly one in four of the farmers responding to Apetit’s survey is interested in moving into organic farming. Nevertheless, for a farmer it is a question of livelihood and often also personal investment and risk. As obstacles to starting organic farming, the farmers list concrete farming problems, such as weed management, insufficiency of know-how or laborious bureaucracy related to organic farming. The farmers also demand that food industry and commerce commit to purchasing organic raw materials and that they receive practical assistance and instructions on succeeding in organic farming. "Our development programme offers help to farmers who wish to move into or towards organic farming. The goal of the programme is to increase the efficiency of organic farming and boost the crops it yields as well as to tackle various challenges related to moving over to organic farming. With this programme, we clear the way for organic vegetables to enter stores in the form of Apetit’s products. We hope that our commitment gives farmers some security", says Anu Ora, Vice President at Apetit. Ora talked about this topic at the organic food event Luomuelintarvikepäivät on 5 October 2017. Apetit introduces to organic farming a similar contract farming model as is used in ordinary farming. Farmers commit to meeting the high quality requirements of the Vastuuviljely (Responsible farming) method in organic farming, too, and in return, they have the security that their crops will be bought in the season. The first Finnish organic frozen products to stores As the first company to do so, Apetit brought Finnish organic frozen vegetables to the stores this autumn. The very first products featuring Finnish organic vegetables were Organic Spinach and Organic Peas. In November, two new favourites will be launched: Apetit Organic Potato & Soup Vegetables and Kotimainen Organic Potato and Onion Mix. “In some areas in Finland, the demand for organic food already exceeds the supply. We believe strongly in growth of the organic food sector in Finland as well as in its export prospects. For the export potential to be realised, the entire food industry and commerce would need to commit to the productisation and sales of organic products. Promoting organic food is recorded in the Government Programme and what is needed now is concrete action. Apetit wants to be a trailblazer in this respect,” Ora says. Product information Apetit Kotimainen Organic Spinach 150 g and Apetit Kotimainen Organic Peas 200 g. The Apetit organic vegetables have been grown at the Vanhakartano organic farm in Köyliö. * In a year (July 2015–June 2016), the sales of organic food increased by 12%. During that period, the retail sales of organic products amounted to approximately EUR 250 million. (Estimate by Pro Luomu on the basis of information collected from retailer groups.) During the same period, the sales of daily consumer goods only increased by 0.3%. (Sales data from the Finnish Grocery Trade Association member companies.) Key survey results A total of 68% of the Finnish farmers who took the recent survey believe that the demand for organic food is increasing among consumers. Furthermore, 44% of them believe that organic farming will become a significant agricultural activity in the future, whereas 25% disagreed on this statement and 30% could not or did not want to express their view on this matter. Of those already involved in organic farming, 49% feel that organic farming is economically more profitable than ordinary farming. Organic food has the potential to become a significant export asset for Finland, believe 46% of Finnish farmers. A total of 48% think that organic farming is a more environmentally friendly way of operating. When questioned about obstacles to starting organic farming, 54% name the difficulty of weed management as the main obstacle, 29% feel that their own know-how is insufficient and 26% think that the bureaucracy related to organic farming is too heavy. When inquired what would facilitate the changeover to organic farming, 43% of the farmers demand that food industry and commerce commit to purchasing organic raw materials over the long term, 42% need practical assistance and 41% demand support during the transition period from ordinary farming to organic farming. When presented with the statement that organic farming is not economically sensible in Finland, 29% of the respondents agreed with the statement, 31% disagreed and 39% could not or did not want to express their view on this matter. One in four responding farmers who are already involved in organic farming believe that organic food will become a permanent trend among consumers. ** Apetit had TNS Kantar Agri conduct a survey targeted at Finnish farmers of grain, vegetable, fruit, berries and oilseeds. The survey period was 17–30 August 2017. In the analysis phase, the respondent sample was weighted so that it is representative of the Finnish farm structure in terms of the farm size and organic status. The survey’s margin of error is approximately +/-6 percentage points for the entire sample. N=247 responses.
Räpi experimental farm - a pioneer in cultivation expertise in satakunta
The operations began in 1954 as an experimental farm for Länsi-Suomen Sokeritehdas Oy and they have continued uninterrupted to the present day, with Räpi serving as an experimental farm for Lännen Tehtaat and Apetit. Today, as one of only a few company-owned experimental farms in Finland, it contributes to the development of agricultural expertise in Satakunta. Throughout its history, the Räpi experimental farm has served as a channel through which new plant varieties and cultivation methods enter the Satakunta region. The cultivation methods, plant varieties and focus areas of research have changed over the years. The experimental activities began with experiments related to sugar beet varieties and cultivation methods. They were later expanded to cover many other outdoor crops when Lännen Tehtaat began the contract growing and production of a wide range of frozen vegetables in Säkylä. The research done at Räpi is aimed at anticipating future trends in outdoor crop cultivation. For example, all the plant varieties and cultivation methods selected for use in Apetit’s contract growing are tested at Räpi before their broader implementation. This season, the farm has tested plant varieties, fertiliser use and cultivation methods for peas, swede, parsnip, carrot, spinach, celeriac, sugar beet and other crops. EXPERIMENTATION PROMOTES VEGETABLE QUALITY AND SUSTAINABLE GROWING During the past decade, the research and experimentation at Räpi has been particularly focused on developing a cultivation method that supports a sustainable and environmentally friendly farming ecosystem. The most recently-developed cultivation methods are based on using plant protection measures only when necessary and only to a limited extent. Biological and mechanical solutions are prioritised. Pest control solutions can include, for example, nets that cover crops, and information on pest life cycles and their natural enemies. Similarly, biodegradable covering materials and mechanical uprooting can be used to control weeds. THE DELICIOUS TASTE OF APETIT FROZEN VEGETABLES COMES FROM EXPERT FARMING AND SUPERIOR VARIETIES The Räpi experimental farm is constantly testing new varieties to find those with the best flavour, texture, nutritional quality and suitability for freezing for use in Apetit products. Apetit’s product development also guides choices related to plant varieties and contract growing. The popularity of Apetit Kotimainen, a product range focused on vegetables grown in Finland, supports introduction of new varieties to contract growing in Finland. A HUB FOR DEVELOPING FINNISH INTEGRATED PRODUCTION EXPERTISE The results of the research at Räpi experimental farm are used in the development of the Apetit responsible farming method to which all of Apetit’s contract growers are committed. The responsible farming method is used to manage plant-specific cultivation instructions, quality and product safety, and other factors. For example, plant protection measures are only used when necessary and with due consideration. The Räpi experimental farm plays a key role in Apetit’s Responsible Farming method. The Räpi farm has contributed significantly to development of the Finnish IP (Integrated Production) method. In 2011–2013, it participated in the Varjellen Viljelty project by updating new plant-specific cultivation instructions in response to consumer expectations and regulatory standards. The Räpi experimental farm cooperates closely with the Pyhäjärvi Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Åbo Akademi University, the Sugar Beet Research Centre of Finland and growers in the Satakunta region. The new knowledge and expertise developed at Räpi is transferred to Apetit’s approximately 100 contract growers in many ways. Those include the Experimental Farm Days event, which promotes the success of agriculture as a livelihood throughout Satakunta. Experimental activities in Räpi in summer 2017: Pea Broad bean Soybean Carrot Swede Turnip Celeriac Spinach Yellow beet, chioggia beet, red beet Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Savoy cabbage Potato The effect of rapeseed extract on weeds (fallow and swede field) Sugar beet for the Sugar Beet Research Centre of Finland ROOTS ON LALLI MANOR LANDS The written history of the Räpi experimental farm began in 1156, when it was part of Lalli Manor. In 1812, the Kepola country manor was separated from Lalli Manor. More than a century later, in 1917, the Kepola country manor was split into three parts and divided between the owner’s sons. The youngest son, Albert, stayed on as landlord of one of the three parts, which was subsequently named Räpi. After the war, the family’s youngest son, Jaakko Rauanheimo, became the new landlord of the Räpi estate. He held this position until 1954, when he sold the farm to Länsi-Suomen Sokeritehdas Oy, which had been established in Säkylä in the early 1950s.
Fish cakes from roach – a sensible approach!
The development of Järvikalapihvit fish cakes stemmed from finding the right networks and the desire for diverse use of Finnish fish. This led to ecological and delicious fish cakes produced locally from fish caught in Lake Pyhäjärvi. For the time being, the product is only sold to the professional food service sector. The wishes of demanding food professionals and their customers were taken into account in developing the fish cakes. Professional kitchens place a high priority on products being suitable to a wide range of customers, and on good nutritional value. The fish cakes made with lake fish contain no lactose, gluten or soy. They contain high quantities of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Roach is a low-fat, high-protein fish. Although roach and small perch are often considered low-value fish, they were given due respect as a raw material in the development of Järvikalapihvit fish cakes. “We didn’t want to mask the characteristic flavour of these fish, so we developed a straightforward flavour that combines salt, pepper, cream and butter with the taste of the fish itself,” says Hanna Pere, Marketing Manager at Apetit Ammattilaiset. This delicious and environmentally friendly product contributes to more efficient use of Finland’s fish stocks, and offers a different seafood option for food service companies. AN ECOLOGICAL CHOICE The eutrophication of Lake Pyhäjärvi in Säkylä has long been worsened by its large populations of roach and small perch. Both species feed on plankton, which helps reduce the lake’s nutrient load. Lower levels of plankton lead to more algae growth in particular. Local fishermen have managed the fish stock of Lake Pyhäjärvi by catching lower value fish to curb eutrophication and maintain the healthy balance of the lake’s fish population. In the past, fish caught as part of fish stock management were primarily used as animal feed in the fur trade, or thrown away due to the lack of the right kind of value chain to use them as food. This changed when Järvikalaa Nam, a Pyhäjärvi Institute project focussing on the use of lake fish as food, combined the product development efforts of Apetit Ruoka Oy and Jouni Aaltonen, the entrepreneur behind the Kolvaan Kala company. The roach and small perch caught as part of fish stock management are processed into a paste that is then used to produce fish cakes at Apetit’s Säkylä production facility on the shore of Lake Pyhäjärvi.
How peas make their way from field to freezer
Apetit’s frozen peas are frozen within two hours of being shelled. This tight schedule is made possible by the pea fields being close to Apetit’s frozen food production facility in Säkylä. In addition, the entire process is carefully timed. When planning the harvesting of peas, the sowing of different pea varieties is taken into account to ensure uninterrupted harvesting of ripe peas in the summer. The entire summer harvest must not ripen at exactly the same time, so sowing is planned in accordance with the production plant’s freezing capacity. Ripening of the peas and the start of harvesting and shelling is monitored closely and precisely down to the hour. UNIQUE IN FINLAND To plan and predict the start of the pea harvest, Apetit uses Finland’s only tenderometer, an instrument for measuring the hardness of peas. Pea samples are collected from all the plots, and the timing of harvesting is predicted with the help of tenderometer readings. The pea harvesters used by Apetit are also unique in Finland. Manufactured by the UK-based company PMC, they weigh a whopping 25 tonnes each. Apetit owns three pea harvesters, with the newest one having been purchased in 2012. Apetit bought its first self-propelled pea harvester in 1979. HARVESTERS SEPARATE PEAS FROM THEIR PODS The speed at which the harvester moves during shelling is important, as the speed determines the quantity of pea mass and the speed of the threshing drum. The drum and the beaters inside it spin the stalks, opening the pods and moving the peas to the harvester’s hopper. The peas are then transferred to tractors and lorries for transportation to Säkylä for freezing. QUICK AND GENTLE FREEZING Thanks to the detailed harvesting schedule and short distances, the peas go from field to freezer in two hours. This ensures the superior flavour and texture of Finnish frozen peas, and creates a taste of summer in the midst of winter. Gentle blanching and quick freezing in an air blast freezer ensure that the peas have a long shelf life and high nutritional content. The facility produces 10 tonnes of frozen peas per hour. Taking the washing of the production line into account, the daily pea production capacity is 200 tonnes. OUR PEAS ARE RESPONSIBLY GROWN All our pea growers are committed to Apetit’s responsible growing practices, which are based on integrating several different perspectives on improving cultivation and vegetable quality as well as managing environmental impact. Under Apetit’s responsible growing practices, contract growers use appropriate vegetable-specific and plot-specific cultivation methods to prevent the proliferation of pests and weeds. They also improve crop yields and vegetable quality using methods that are as environmentally friendly as possible, and that cause minimal disturbance to the cultivation ecosystem. Apetit’s range of frozen pea products was expanded in summer 2017 after the first organic crops were harvested.
Räpi experimental farm conducts tests on the characteristics of plant varie...
There are around 1,000 parcels of land currently in use at Apetit’s Räpi experimental farm to study the differences between different varieties of plants used by Apetit, as well as new vegetables to add to the product range. Among the most interesting focuses of new research are broad beans and soybeans. “With broad bean and soybean, our aim is to study the potential of growing new plant protein sources in our region,” says purchasing manager Timo Kaila. In addition to exploring these new frontiers, Räpi farm is also active in studying the characteristics and cultivation requirements of other plants, such as different varieties of peas and carrots. Many of the 1,000 parcels of land in use at Räpi are devoted to sugar beet experiments carried out by Apetit for Sucros. Apetit is set to launch organic products in shops this autumn. Räpi experimental farm is also taking steps related to organic farming. One block of the fields at the form has been assigned to organic farming. “It takes about two years to get a field ready to be formally approved for organic cultivation. During this time, we are growing different varieties in this field to maintain good soil quality. Starting organic farming is a major process that takes a lot of work,” Kaila explains. The results of the research at the Räpi experimental farm are used in developing the Apetit Responsible Farming method, which all of Apetit’s contract growers are committed to applying. The Responsible Farming method is used to manage, among other things, plant-specific cultivation instructions, quality and product safety. For example, plant protection measures are only employed when necessary and with due consideration. The Räpi experimental farm plays a key role in Apetit’s Responsible Farming method. Having been in operation for more than 60 years, Räpi is now one of only a few company-owned experimental farms in Finland.