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Product development and research

In recent years, the number of grain-based products has increased and become more diverse rapidly. New products are developed constantly and new trends pop up frequently. The health effects of oat, a natural superfood, are the target of particular attention in Finland and abroad. The Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) and the LAB University of Applied Sciences support the product development and research efforts of the Grain Cluster companies and, together with Salpaus Further Education, they train new experts for the companies.

Oat in the heart of product development

The companies of the Päijät-Häme Grain Cluster perform high-quality research and product development to commercialise and process oat, for instance. Traditional oat products are now accompanied by completely novel product innovations. New, healthy and sustainably produced products are experimented on and developed by the Grain Cluster companies on a constant basis.

Puhtikaura won the Finnish Food of the Year award in 2016. The pre-cooked oat powder produced with a special method makes it possible to use whole-grain oat in a completely new way. The product innovation was a result of co-operation between Viipurilainen Kotileipomo, farmers and the Taivalkoski mill.

Fazer Aurora Oat Beta Glucan is Fazer Mills’ oat-based ingredient for boosting the nutritional contents of several products. It offers a natural and easy way to add the benefits of oat’s beta glucan (soluble fibre) to a wide variety of food items, drinks and nutritional supplements.

Another special oat product by Fazer Mills is Fazer Aurora Oat Oil, which contains plenty of unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. It is used in cosmetics and personal care products to add protective hydration and antioxidant benefits. Fazer Oat Oil is made from Finnish oats with gentle, solvent-free and eco-friendly CO2 extraction. Fazer also produces oat oil for food applications under Fazer Alku brand in Finland.

Fazer Mills has world-class know-how in bread improver technology. One of Fazer’s latest innovations contains patented LOFO™ enzyme that efficiently reduces the fructan content of the bread. Fazer LOFO™ is the world’s first enzyme-based solution that allows for a low FODMAP content in baked wheat and rye products.

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Oats are also used by Hartwall’s special beer brewery Mattsson. Although oat has become very popular in Finland, the Nordic countries and around the world, it has not become an established part of beers. Mattsson Oat Pale Ale offers an alternative in the ever-increasing range of beers. It is an amber-coloured top-fermented beer that contains plenty of oats cultivated near Lahti.

Viking Malt’s latest product innovation, called Sprau, contains sprouted fava beans. The ready-to-use vegetable protein is manufactured with a unique method that, according to its developers, makes it taste better than other fava bean products available in stores. A considerable amount of FODMAP compounds contained by beans which typically cause the generation of gas in the intestines have been removed from Sprau in the manufacturing process.

“Constant efforts have to be made in product development in the food industry. Food trends and the demands of consumers change all the time. New products and their quality are developed more intensively and innovatively than in any other industry.”

Pekka Mäki-Reinikka, experienced professional in the food industry, retired, former Managing Director of Fazer Mill