Artturi Ilmari Virtanen laid the foundations for Valio research and product development

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Nobel laureate Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895–1973), long-time Director of the Valio Laboratory and the inspiration behind Valio’s science-based research tradition. It’s now 70 years since he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 2015 also marks Valio’s 110th anniversary.

Development work benefiting the whole nation

Dr Virtanen was a man of immense importance to the Finnish science community. He is considered the father of Finnish biochemistry and contributed a great deal to the improvement of the population’s nutrition. Dr Virtanen was also the first President of the Academy of Finland and a professor at two different universities.

The inventions that earned Artturi Ilmari Virtanen the Nobel Prize in Chemistry − AIV silage and AIV salt − laid the foundations for top quality Finnish feed, milk and butter. The new method of feed storage sustained superior Valio milk throughout the year, while AIV butter salt helped Valio craft better quality butter than its competitors for decades.

These innovations support Valio’s first-class products to this day. 

Valio’s Management Board acted with great conviction in establishing the Valio Laboratory in 1913: “Only a country whose entire economy is based on science can reach and maintain first place in the economic battle between nations.” Discover more about Valio’s history.

Product development continues in the spirit of Dr Virtanen

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen headed up the Valio Laboratory for some 50 years. The company’s research and product development still operates in the spirit of Dr Virtanen, adhering to an ongoing tradition of collaboration with the scientific community, yet never compromising on quality. Valio leads the world in dairy development and milk technology innovation. Read about the history of product development and launches here.

Dr Virtanen’s scientific legacy encourages Valio employees to raise the bar in their own performance. His work in putting Finnish milk production and processing amongst the best in the world was particularly significant. The quality of Valio’s milk is driven by the dairy farms and is close to the heart of each and every producer.