Production started at the Seinäjoki plant in the 1960s, first with butter and milk powder. Today, the plant in western Finland also produces all Valio Oivariini® spreads, quark, cottage cheese and the Valio MiFu™ cooking crumb. The plant houses some of Valio's most versatile production machinery and it processes the most milk. The plant also hosts Valio's regional laboratory.
Over 50 years of butter
There is a high chance that any delectable croissants you ate in France were actually made with Valio butter from Seinäjoki. The high-quality butter of Seinäjoki, appreciated at home and abroad, has been manufactured for over 50 years. The plant's butter churns first started turning in 1965, a month after the brand-new plant had started producing milk powder.
All of Valio's butter is still made in Seinäjoki, along with the majority of milk powder. The plant also produces Valio Oivariini® spreads, quark products, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, Valio Gefilus® power shots and Valio HeVi Shot™ drinks.
"Several products, including lactose free milk powder and Valio MiFu™ cooking crumb, are produced for both domestic consumption and export. A new kind of product with international appeal is our low-salt Oivariini® spread with Valio ValSa® milk salt," says plant director Timo Panula.
The Seinäjoki plant's annual production comprises nearly 30 million kilograms of fresh products, 34 million kilograms of milk powder, and 64 million kilograms of butter and spreads. The plant employs 370 people in production and other tasks. Including the local dairy farmers, the plant effectively employs 3,700 people and has an economic impact on the lives of 160 million people.
"The Seinäjoki milk is locally produced."
Quality takes precision
The milk used in the Seinäjoki plant's production is locally produced: the average transport distance is 69 kilometres. With nearly 20 years of experience at Seinäjoki, production worker Päivi Haapanen knows that care is required in every step when transporting and handling the sensitive raw material.
"High-quality products take good cleanliness, hygiene and professional skill from the farm to the consumer's table. We can only make tasty and high-quality products for consumers if every step of the process is successful. Making such products is the most rewarding thing about this job," muses Päivi.
Extensive laboratory research
Not all milk arriving in Seinäjoki is used for production; the laboratory located on the plant's premises analyses several litres each day.
"We analyse the composition and quality of milk from each farm in Valio's supplier network. The laboratory also inspects fodder, hormone and mastitis samples sent in by Valio group producers and co-operatives. Annually, we analyse some 1.7 million samples, which is an unmatched number in Finland," says head of the laboratory Minna-Kaisa Maunumaa. The Seinäjoki laboratory also provides the plant with all the analyses it needs for production.