Fazer’s strategic ambition is to strengthen its position as the number one FMCG brand in Finland and to develop leading positions in the other Nordic countries. Consumer-driven innovations, on-trend categories and foodtech contribute to reaching the strategic targets of the company. As part of executing its strategy, Fazer announced in January 2022 its plans to invest in a new state-of-the-art confectionery factory. The investment would, if realised, meet future consumer expectations and environmental requirements, and improve working conditions and the competitiveness of domestic production.
If realised, the new confectionery factory would replace the existing factories in Vantaa and Lappeenranta, which have served Fazer well for several decades. The investment project has now proceeded to the basic design phase, which is a prerequisite for the actual investment decision. As part of this design phase, Fazer has signed a co-operation agreement with the city of Lahti. According to the agreement, Lahti reserves a 34 hectares area in the industrial area of Pippo-Kujala for Fazer.
– Numerous factors impacted our choice and the home town of the new confectionery factory and we have carefully assessed tens of alternatives. We have been reassured by the holistic approach of the city of Lahti. The current factories employ approximately 900 people and Lahti could offer an excellent setting for a smooth and convenient everyday life of the employees, which is a prerequisite to ensure the well-being and availability of employees in the long run. The traffic connections of Lahti are good, which makes the city available also to employees living outside the immediate Lahti region. The plot which we are now discussing is big enough for our purposes, enabling the growth and development of the confectionery factory also in the future. The industrial area of Pippo-Kujala provides us a good solution both from a logistic and an engineering point of view, says Markus Hellström, Managing Director of Fazer Confectionery.
– Fazer and the city of Lahti have a long history of cooperation, and we will offer a special operating environment to Fazer in the future too. We are also able to support Fazer in reaching its environmental targets, as Lahti’s ambition is to be the first Finnish city to become carbon neutral already in 2025. For the employees, Lahti can offer all the benefits of a big city but on a more compact scale: services are close, there are plenty of opportunities for recreation and the kindergarten and school networks are among the most modern in Finland. We would be honoured to be the new hometown of Fazer Blue chocolate and Marianne sweets, says Pekka Timonen, the Mayor of Lahti.
Fazer has long traditions in Lahti. In 1958, Fazer bought the Oululainen bakery, and in 1971 the company built an own mill in Lahti. The crisps bakery and Fazer Xylitol factory, which started its commercial operations in April 2022, are located in the industrial area of Kärpäsenmäki, and Fazer’s gluten-free bakery is also located in Lahti. Currently, Fazer employs approximately 600 people in Lahti.
The operations in the current factories will continue normally for several years. The aim of the current basic design phase is to create a factory plan, which would serve as a basis for making the potential investment decision in the first half of 2023. No change negotiations will be carried out following the cooperation agreement. The change negotiations regarding the potential future change of the place of work were conducted already in the beginning of 2022.