The food-based spearhead has the following key objectives: improving the traceability and safety of foodstuffs, developing production by relying on automation and artificial intelligence, utilising by-products, reducing wastage and establishing a sustainable and carbon-neutral food system. Additional objectives are ensuring the availability of training and workforce in the field and strengthening the R&D ecosystem in agriculture, berry farming and the food industry.
Food production in the county (milk, berries and fish) provides opportunities for the development of products aiming both for health and indulgence. In product innovation, the development of food products and agriculture is both market and customer-centred. The goal is to build good practices and global examples with the various products and areas of production.
Ethical production has become an important competitive factor in the food industry, and this is taken into account throughout the entire production chain. Accountability and transparent operations also require quality development, where expansive, farm-specific data sources are used. Developing packaging processes is also a key issue for the industry. With smart packaging, the freshness and quality of products can be monitored, customers can be provided with information on products and the production chain can be tracked. This type of development can help food processing businesses stand out in the market, and it can also be beneficial for export activities.
Valio is the market leader in all key dairy product groups in Finland and a world class pioneer in the development of innovative products and technologies that increase well-being. It employs indirectly over 4600 persons in Pohjois-Savo. Valio has a modern plant in Lapinlahti and the the Finland's biggest jam factory in Suonenjoki.
Co-operative dairy Maitomaa in Suonenjoki is fully owned and managed by milk producers. It processes 75 million liters raw milk into cottage cheese, butter, milk and UHT-products every year.
Olvi is a Finnish beverage company that has produced beverages for 136 years in Iisalmi. Currently the company operates locally in Finland, Belarus and the Baltic states.
TEHO Sport, a new complete sports nutrient series with products for both preparation and recovery, is produced in collaboration by Olvi and Maitomaa.
Carelian Caviar produces luxurious sturgeon roe in Varkaus. The wild sturgeons have been subjected to over-fishing, to the extent that they are almost depleted. At Carelian Caviar the sturgeons are farmed in two indoor lake systems. The production methods are more environmental friendly than open-air pond sturgeon farming.