Valio’s state-of-the-art production plant in Lapinlahti lies at the heart of Finland’s dairy production regions and during its rich history has honed the many and complex skills essential to expert milk processing. Today, we specialise in high-quality baby food ingredients and tasty cheeses, says Plant Director Kari Lappi.
Lapinlahti is also rightly famous for its cheeses and manufactures around 25 million kilos per year, one third of Valio’s output.
These delicious cheeses have received many awards and the plant’s portfolio includes Valio Luostari®, Valio Mustaleima™, Valio Alppi Kreivi® and Valio Finlandia®. Lapinlahti’s Edam and Emmental are also popular at home and abroad, including the USA.
A new product for May 2015 is Lapinlahden Maalaisjuusto, Valio’s first Fontal type cheese. The packages detail Lapinlahti as the point of production and depict traditional dairy communities, raising the visibility of local farms, says Lapinlahti cheese master Jukka Sipponen.
Lapinlahti manufactures one third of Valio’s cheese output.
Locally sourced top-quality milk
Helped by its carefully planned location, the Lapinlahti plant sources raw milk from 1,100 Valio dairy farms collected fresh within an average distance of 67 kilometres. This means the milk that goes into each product we manufacture is like all Valio milk in Finland the cleanest in the EU and traceable to individual dairy farms.
Investing in competitive advantage
Lapinlahti undertook an extensive construction program between 1960 and 1990, and in recent years has invested a total of 90 million euros in new projects. A new boiler plant was completed in 2013 for energy provision, and a state-of-the-art production unit for Valio Demi™ demineralised whey powders was inaugurated in 2014.
Investments in advanced technology give the plant the competitive edge it needs to succeed in the global marketplace and support Valio R&D in developing value added products. Lapinlahti also houses Valio’s regional laboratory which provides demanding quality control analysis services for all the company’s plants.
Supporting the regional and national economy
Valio is committed to securing employment in Finland’s national dairy business and related services, and this starts in the regions. Lapinlahti is a case in point. Valio’s decision in 1959 to build a dairy plant in what was then a modest village has been instrumental in its growth into a lively municipality of 10,000 inhabitants.
The plant’s primary function was originally to balance seasonal fluctuations in milk production, making dairy products from the milk volumes other Valio plants were unable to process during peak periods.
Investments in the plant help provide jobs and income for the North Savo region and benefit the country as a whole. There are currently 300 Valio staff working at the Lapinlahti plant itself and in total Valio Group provides employment for more than 4,500 people in the region, including milk producers and the people employed by them, as well as milk collection and product delivery lorry drivers.
In addition to investments, Valio Group contributes a total of more than 160 million euros to North Savo in the price paid for raw milk to producers, income for service providers, as well as salaries and taxes.