Apetit’s strategic focus area in internationalisation – growth in share of food exports

Apetit’s strategic focus area in internationalisation – growth in share of food exports

Apetit Plc, Investor News on 8 May 2018 at 9:00 am

One of the focus areas in Apetit’s strategy, which was updated at the beginning of March, is internationalisation and increasing international food trade in particular. International food trade has already grown over the past few years, as its share in January-March 2018 had already equalled that of the full year in 2016. Apetit’s food products that attract the most international interest are added-value products, such as vegetable patties and balls as well as peas.

“Apetit has traditionally been an important operator in the international grain trade. Last year, international trade and exports made up about 64 per cent of the grain trade’s net sales, and we aim to further increase this with selected areas of supply, such as in the Baltic and the Ukraine. Apetit is also aiming to significantly increase the international share of trade in the area of food,” says Juha Vanhainen, CEO of Apetit.

The sale of frozen foods in the St Petersburg region, which was launched last year, will continue as Apetit will supply its products to Lenta stores in Russia. Lenta is one of Russia’s largest retail store chains.

“We are currently piloting the sale of Apetit frozen foods with Lenta in selected stores throughout Russia. We will decide on the final selection during the summer. There is a growing number of consumers in Russia who want to eat more healthily and increase their vegetable consumption,” says Vanhainen.

Vegetables hugely popular in the Nordics

Apetit is also working on several new projects in the Nordic countries, where there is considerable and growing interest in vegetarian foods. In the Nordic countries, demand is focused especially on vegetable patties and balls but also on more traditional frozen foods.

“The vegetable trend is particularly big in Sweden, which naturally boosts demand for various vegetarian alternatives. At the moment, consumers are most interested in ‘free-from’ products. The frozen food culture is more established in Sweden than in Finland and Swedes use frozen foods much more than Finns,” says Vanhainen describing the Nordic market.

Finnish food has a good international reputation, but Finnishness is not a big enough selling point on its own.

“Finnish food is unpolluted and safe, but ultimately, the product’s added-value factors - flavour, appearance, mouthfeel and attractiveness of the package - are decisive. To make Finnish products interesting to international consumers, we must respond to local demand by offering modern products created for the market.”

Finnish peas in demand in Italy, Sweden and Asia

Apetit’s biggest export product by volume is currently the Finnish pea. Peas are exported to Italy, Sweden and Greece, and in Asia to China and Taiwan. The export of peas has recently increased dramatically.

“Differences between pea varieties are important factors for consumers outside Finland. In Sweden and Italy, consumers prefer small, sweet peas, which is similar to new potatoes in Finland. Consumers in Asia eat larger and harder peas,” says Vanhainen.

In the coming harvest season, Apetit will contract-grow about 4 million kilos of peas in Finland. According to Vanhainen, selecting the right varieties will make it possible to multiply the international sale of peas in the future, for example to Italy.

“Apetit’s high-quality peas are popular in other countries because of their very consistent quality. As the peas are harvested and frozen very quickly they retain the flavour of freshly-picked peas. Finland’s light growing season produces peas that are very sweet and green,” says Vanhainen.

Apetit Plc

For more information, please contact:

Juha Vanhainen, CEO, Apetit Plc, tel. +358 10 402 00

Sanna Väisänen, Director, Communications and Investor Relations, Apetit Plc, tel. +358 10 402 4041

is number one in vegetables. It is a food industry company firmly rooted in Finnish primary production. We create well-being with vegetables by offering healthy and tasty food solutions that make daily life easier. We also produce high-quality vegetable oils and rapeseed expellers for feeding stuff, and trade grain on the international markets. Apetit seeks to lead the way in vegetable-based food solutions. Apetit Plc’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. In 2017, the company’s net sales were EUR 312 million and it had approximately 640 employees. Read more at apetitgroup.fi.