In 2017, Fazer continued to improve its performance: our net sales and operating profit increased from the previous year. Moving forward, our focus will be on implementing our strategy and transforming into a modern sustainable food company with a joint direction.
We live in a world that is changing at an ever-increasing pace. The continuous transformation challenges the food industry to actively search for new solutions to answer emerging market and consumer needs. Like the world around us, Fazer is also continuously transforming. We want to co-create new products and services together with our partners to provide the latest and most satisfying food experiences for people.
The key word here is collaboration. We want to promote socially significant and sustainable innovations, collaboratively with our partners in an ecosystem. One example of this is that we have joined forces with Nokia and Nightingale Health to study the effect of people’s diets on the productivity of their work, their cognitive performance and the quality of their lives. This research project brings together three companies from different fields - biotech, digital health and food - and aims for a greater impact through collaboration.
In June, we presented our strategy for 2018-2022 as well as our new mission and vision. Fazer’s new mission is Food with a purpose. Creating food with a purpose means that we add a little extra joy, well-being, inspiration, passion and love to everything we do. Our vision is to spark joy and well-being through meaningful food experiences.
In our strategy for the coming years, we focus on value creation through portfolio choices, growth, continued operational excellence and structural improvements. This has certainly been a good start for our growth path. In March, we established a new business area, Fazer Lifestyle Foods (FLF), with a focus on non-dairy grain products, plant based meals and on-the-go food and drinks, and we acquired Bioferme, a Finnish company specialised in fermented oat products. In November, we acquired the leading Nordic smoothie brand Froosh. We also formed a new Business Unit, Fazer Retail, which will strengthen our direct-to-consumer business.
In 2017 the economies in many of Fazer’s key markets took a turn to the better: the Finnish, Norwegian and Russian economies strengthened, and the Swedish economy continued on its growth path. However, competition is fierce and holding on to and developing our market shares requires hard work. Despite this, sales developed positively for Fazer in 2017.
Finland celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017, and Fazer’s Finland 100 programme was awarded as the most fruitful partnership of the year. In Sweden, Fazer Food Services was ranked as the top restaurant chain of the year. Our bakery operations in Russia continue to show exemplary LTAF figures. In Lithuania, Fazer is growing in a tough market situation, where the overall bread market is continuously declining. We opened a new production facility in Kaunas, Lithuania. Fazer Food Services entered the public sector in Norway as we opened our first public contract in 2017. For the second time in a row, Fazer Food Services Denmark was one of three finalists in the competition “Best canteen of the year”, which proves our high level of gastronomy.
Fazer Bakery’s health and well-being offering is attracting positive attention, and the demand for artisanal bread continues strong. In November, the launch of the first-of-its-kind Fazer Cricket Bread in Finland gained great interest and huge worldwide publicity.
In Fazer Confectionery, all our commercial units are performing well. At Fazer Food Services, a brand renewal was started, and it will continue in 2018 with the refreshing of the Amica brand and building of the new Fazer Food & Co restaurant brand.
Since it opened in autumn 2016, the Fazer Experience visitor centre has been steadily growing in popularity. The centre drew over 180,000 visitors in 2017. I am delighted that Fazer is a destination that interests people, and that many visitors keep returning. Every interaction promotes continuous development, sparks dialogue and deepens our understanding of customer needs.
Sustainability is an integrated part of Fazer’s business and we take pride in supporting the development of a sustainable lifestyle. We are committed to the principles of the UN Global Compact and we take actions to support the Sustainable Development Goals.
None of the above would have happened without the daily work of our great employees, and I greatly value their efforts. Together, we will develop the company and continue its success.
In closing, I’d like to thank all our stakeholders for accompanying us on Fazer’s journey in 2017 and for all the hard work and support.
President & CEO