In Finland, more than 90% of the dairy products supplied through Food Service channels are lactose free. Valio’s other strengths in the sector include uniform quality and top supply performance.
Valio offers Food Service customers a full range of lactose free dairy products, which is an absolute requirement to maintain the position of leading supplier in the sector where our most popular lactose free products are milks, creams, quarks and yoghurts, says Jani Lamminperä, Food Service Sales Manager at Valio.
The new standard
With the exception of fresh drinking milks where traditional varieties alongside lactose free is a popular combination, the public sector including schools, hospitals and catering services purchases exclusively lactose free dairy. Supplier tenders with for instance no lactose free alternatives in milk-based cooking products are rejected.
In most schools and many other institutional kitchens all meals are lactose free and only one further option to cater to other special diets need be served.
The commercial case
While lactose free alternatives may at first sight be more expensive than the standard product, customer feedback suggests that the cost of using lactose free is often the same due to the savings made.
Lactose free products, snacks and meals can be eaten by everyone so there’s no need to double up on inventory. Kitchens don’t have to produce several variants of the same food, which leads to time and manpower savings on preparation and cleaning. And from the sustainability perspective, there’s less wastage.
“The cost of using lactose free is often the same due to the savings made.”
Safety first in hospitals
Replacing ordinary dairy products with lactose free as a matter of policy improves patient safety and well-being. Ordinary dairy products will not be served inadvertently to patients with lactose intolerance as there are fewer alternatives on the tray so aside from allergies all patients can eat the same food.
Dietary variety from canteens to fine dining
As a general rule in food service outlets in Finland, information is provided on allergens and other ingredients that carry a risk factor for some people. Consumers are accustomed to the practice and demand to know, for example, which restaurant portions are lactose free and gluten free. These are marked almost everywhere, whether in a staff canteen or the very best restaurants.
“Nowadays, lactose free dairy is associated not only with health products and everyday meals. It’s important to be able to make gourmet foods using lactose free dairy products without compromising on quality, whether at home or in a fine dining establishment,” Jani explains.
Lactose free brings further added value
While it helped to be the first supplier in Finland of lactose free variants of everyday dairy products, Valio has maintained its position through continuous product development and attending to customer needs.
Valio’s goal is to make lactose free alternatives even better than the regular products. For example, lactose free whole milk has gathered positive feedback in the FS sector for remaining more stable in cooking.