Sustainability, innovation and a culture of experimenting are at the core of the strategy of Fazer, which celebrates its 130 anniversary this year. The company is constantly innovating future’s food solutions. Now, Fazer is taking bread-eaters one step closer to a more environmentally friendly daily life with a bread bag made partially from oat hulls, which are derived as a side stream of the oat milling process. This packaging innovation is unique also on a global level, and it has required years of work.

Fazer has noticed that modern consumers are increasingly concerned about the way products are packaged. In recent years, Finns have started to demand more ecological packaging.  “Packaging is a hot topic among Finns, particularly the recyclability of packages. Consumers see the overall image of the product in a whole new way, and packaging material is no longer irrelevant,” says Piia Soininen-Tengvall, Senior Manager, Packaging Development & Design at Fazer Bakery Finland. Fazer has been developing the oat-hull bag together with companies, researchers and educational institutions operating in the industry for years. Of the material, 25 per cent is oat hulls, and the package can be recycled as cardboard. The project is part of Fazer’s sustainable packaging programme that consists of three areas: reducing the amount of used packaging material, improving the recyclability of packaging and developing entirely new types of ecological packaging solutions, of which this bread bag made of oat hulls is one example.   “Initially, the oat-hull bread bag felt almost impossible to produce. Using oat hulls as the raw material for food packaging is challenging because the product must remain fresh. The bag must be resistant to vapour in order to protect bread from going to waste. Finally, a suitable solution was found from eleven development versions. It was a real breakthrough when we received the test results from accredited laboratories declaring the oat-hull paper suitable for food contact,” Soininen-Tengvall says. “We want to use every single part of oat grains” The oat hulls used in the packaging innovation come from Fazer’s own oat mill in Lahti. “This innovation is only the beginning for us. Oats can be used for so many purposes and in different ways. Currently, we are discussing how oat hulls could be used more widely in the production of paper and packaging. The oat crop is harvested annually, which means that oats present incredibly valuable opportunities. We don’t want to waste one husk of oats,” says Jarkko Arrajoki, Managing Director of Fazer Mills Finland. Interest towards oats has increased significantly over the past 20 years. The growth in the demand of plant-based products, longer shelf lives and scientifically proven health effects have accelerated the use of oats even further. As a result, Fazer Mills has doubled its oats production in Finland and Sweden. Fazer’s xylitol factory currently under construction in Lahti, Finland, has already raised strong international interest. The xylitol, too, will be made of oat hulls. “We are a unique oat expert and producer in Finland. We use all parts of the oat grain, and we have almost 200 oat products in our selection. The oat hulls created as a side stream of the production have previously been used in energy production or as animal feed. Also our latest innovation, the oat-hull bag, is circular economy at its best,” continues Arrajoki.   Further information and interview requests: Anniina Niemistö, Communications Director, Fazer Bakery Finland, anniina.niemisto@fazer.com, +358 40 674 4672 Interviewees: Piia Soininen-Tengvall, Senior Manager, Packaging Development & Design, Fazer Bakery Finland Jarkko Arrajoki, Managing Director, Fazer Mills Finland Product images: www.fazergroup.com/pictures - Public Image Bank - Media_Press – Finland – Kaurankuoripussi Oat-hull bag Fazer Bakery and Fazer Mills have cooperated for years in order to find more environmentally friendly packaging materials, to reduce plastic and promote recycling. The oat-hull bag is part of a more extensive research project and Fazer’s packaging strategy. · The oat-hull bag was created in a joint project by Tampere University of Applied Sciences, the Natural Resources Institute Finland and Design Forum Finland’s HerääPahvi! project in which Fazer participated. The project lasted from 2018 to 2020. · Fazer continued the development work to make the product suitable for foodstuffs together with Peltolan Pussi Oy and delfort Tervakoski Oy. The development work lasted approximately a year. · In all, 25 per cent of the bag material is made of oat hulls. The bread bag can be recycled as cardboard. · Fazer’s shop-in-shop bakeries will start baking the new Leipurin Kaurainen bread by hand and it will be packed in oat-hull bags. Additional information: https://www.fazer.com/oats-are--fazers-supergrain/ Fazer Bakery Finland Fazer Bakery is the bakery industry market leader in Finland. Fazer’s large bakeries in Finland are located in Vantaa, Lahti and Lappeenranta. The company has 104 shop-in-shop bakeries within grocery shops where artisanal bakers make bread by hand in the shop premises using Finnish flour. In Finland, Fazer Bakery employs approximately 1,600 people. In the manufacturing of the bakery products, approximately 92 per cent of the ingredients are Finnish.