Valio to launch RDI project Food 2.0

Published: 16-Feb-2024

The initiative, funded by Business Finland, was created to enhance the sustainability of Finland’s food system

Valio has recently announced the launch of an extensive research, development and innovation project called Food 2.0. 

Its goal is to create a Finnish nature-smart food system in which growth, profitability and added value are built on the basis of sustainable production.

The programme will run for five years, starting in 2024. 

The Food 2.0 project has been granted EUR €10m funding in Business Finland’s yearly competition, administering investments into companies that benefit the trade, travel and investment of Finland. 

In addition, Business Finland is preparing to fund ecosystem projects on Food 2.0 roadmap with €20m. 

Valio’s role is to initiate and lead wide-ranging cooperation as well as research and development projects with its current and new partners. 

Hundreds of companies and other operators are connected to the food system in Finland, and the goal is to have at least one hundred partners in the network. 

Valio’s goal is to invest €100m more in research and development over the programme and to increase exports connected to the food system by more than €1 billion in the following years after the project has ended. 

“It is important that we reform the food system with all the actors involved, as that is the only way that we will succeed in making changes. The global transformation of food production is also an opportunity for Finnish production, as global demand for food and the importance of northern production areas are growing."

"By being a forerunner in sustainable food production, we can create added value for food produced in Finland while improving its profitability and international competitiveness,” says Tuomas Salusjärvi, EVP, Growth Businesses and R&D at Valio. 

The current global food supply chain is facing challenges: the world’s population is growing, and the need for food is estimated to double by 2050. 

Extreme weather conditions, especially droughts, will increase with climate change in areas where majority of food is currently produced. 

Therefore, the importance of northern regions, such as Finland, in food production is growing. Recent global crises, such as the coronavirus pandemic and Russian aggression in Ukraine, disrupt food supply chains and threaten the security of supply. 

At the same time, the environmental impact of food production must be reduced. The entire food system – both plant and animal production – must operate more comprehensively in accordance with the principles of circular economy and resource efficiency.  

“We need to solve the profitability challenge of food production, meet the demands of the growing export markets and move towards more sustainable production methods. Rethinking the food system is also essential for the environment and food security.” says Salusjärvi. 

In a sustainable food system, nutrients, energy and side streams circulate. The aim is to save natural resources, i.e. to use all resources efficiently and sustainably as well as to keep them in circulation for as long as possible without generating waste.

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