FINLAND – Finland-based food processor, Fazer Group has acquired Vuohelan Herkku’s bakery and milling businesses as the company continues executing its growth strategy and investing in growing product categories.

Vuohelan is one of the forerunners of gluten-free baking in Finland and recently opened a new gluten-free bakery in Lahti.

The acquisition strengthens Fazer’s leadership position in in gluten-free bakery products in Finland.

Gluten-free products represent approximately 3% of the total bakery market in Finland. Fazer foresees substantial growth in this market, and broadening its gluten-free product portfolio is part of the company’s consumer-centric strategy.

The company said that this acquisition will enable it to foster even more profound strategic partnerships with its customers, offering a wide range of bakery products.

“Acquiring Vuohelan Herkku strengthens Fazer’s position as the leading bakery in Finland. Through the acquisition, Fazer becomes the market leader also in gluten-free bakery products,” says Christoph Vitzthum, President and CEO, Fazer Group.  

“We will renew Vuohelan Herkku’s product portfolio and integrate it into Fazer’s gluten-free assortment. The acquisition of Vuohelan Herkku is a natural move for us when executing our strategy.

“We will become a very strong player in the growing gluten-free market when we exploit Fazer’s strong brand and combine Fazer’s and Vuohelan Herkku’s know-how.”

Pirkko Hämäläinen, Managing Director and the main owner of Vuohelan Herkku Oy, added: “I’m pleased that my life’s work as an innovator of gluten-free products continues.

“Along with the acquisition, the business will develop further, and more gluten-free options will become available in the market.

“For us at Vuohelan Herkku, it is important that we share the same values with Fazer. High quality and domestic origin are highly significant to both of us.”

To further increase efficiency in the production of the Yosa oat products, Fazer recently unveiled plans of closing the production facility in Kaarina and to move its operations to its factory in Koria.

The company said that expanding and modernising the factory in Kaarina to meet the large-scale food production required by the growth of the oat business “would require sizeable investments that, given the factory’s current location, would be difficult to carry out.”

The possible closure of the Kaarina factory would take place in autumn 2020 and is expected to affect 48 employees.