While already a staple of unique, healthy, and tasty plant-based food, Raisio has also risen to prominence as a torchbearer for sustainable food production. Raisio’s Good Food Plan is a marquee part of the company’s Healthy Growth Strategy, but what does that mean in practical terms? We took this and other responsibility topics up in a discussion with Raisio’s CLO, Sari Koivulehto-Mäkitalo.
“A typical day at Raisio for me? Now there’s a question!“
So begins our inspiring conversation with Sari Koivulehto-Mäkitalo. The topic at hand is the ever-growing need to find and define viable, impactful, and cost-efficient paths to more sustainable food production – an increasingly important battle that Raisio Food Solutions has years of frontline experience with.
Plant-based food production has a substantially lower environmental impact on the planet than animal agriculture, for example, as fewer natural resources (such as land, water, and energy) are required. Fewer greenhouse gas emissions are produced, which has a significant impact on climate change mitigation. These are indeed efforts that have the capacity to change life for the better for all of us.
Read on to find out how adding Raisio’s plant-based products to your selection will enable you to take part in this valiant effort – while providing your customers with exciting new culinary experiences.
A veritable veteran
As of this writing, Sari has been at Raisio for a whopping sixteen years, having presided over the company’s legal affairs as CLO and Head of Corporate Responsibility from 2019. This means she has witnessed both Raisio’s notable growth in the plant-based market firsthand, as well as the company’s increasing dedication to sustainability and accountability.
Raisio’s efforts towards sustainability and other ESG issues have been piling up on Sari’s desk for the past four years. While the tasks are demanding, Sari finds solace in their nobility and inspiring nature.
“Our sustainability efforts take up more and more of my time each passing year, but they are also topics so easy to get excited about! The job is never finished, as there is always more to do, but it’s meaningful and impactful work.”
Raisio’s acquisition of plant-based trendsetter Verso Food in 2021 solidified the company’s status as a forerunner in the market of Finnish plant-based food. In turn, the marriage of the two companies has subsequently offered Raisio’s customers and partners an even wider and more finely tuned array of plant-based options. Raisio’s Beanit® Textured Fava Protein Mince and Beanit® Textured Oat-Plant Protein Mince are revered for their applicability and formidable protein content – read more about Chef Kim Palhus’s thoughts on Raisio’s plant-based products here.
Crafting tasty, kitchen-friendly, and healthy plant-based ingredients isn’t enough for Raisio, though. They want to accomplish all this the right way.
So, wait – what exactly is Raisio’s Good Food Plan?
In short, Raisio aims to produce responsibly manufactured Finnish food items that rely mainly on domestic primary producers and raw materials lifted from Finland’s unique soil. Raisio’s one-of-a-kind sourcing model is exceptionally transparent and short, which in turn guarantees healthy, unmistakably unique high-quality food with a diminished ecological footprint.
Raisio’s Good Food Plan encompasses five key themes:
Environmentally friendly packaging
Environment and climate action
A sustainable food chain
These themes create the essential framework of Raisio’s daily operation. As we dive deeper into what that means for Raisio’s workforce with their varying roles and routines, Sari takes a short detour to reminisce upon the Good Food Plan’s early stages.
“We ran the first pilots for our ESG programs from 2016 to 2018, mainly just trying to hone in on what we wanted to accomplish and how. We had customers, analysts, investors, consumers, and of course our own employee base heavily involved in the process from the start. We then drew up a plan of action for the coming years, which would become known as Raisio’s Good Food Plan.”
While originally slated to run until 2023, Raisio decided to extend the Good Food Plan to run until 2025, while updating it to match the company’s Healthy Growth Strategy. During the update process Raisio also invited all previously involved parties to take part in the refresher. Having many cooks in the kitchen means the air will get thick fast, but that also means everyone involved can have their say. To truly make an idea, doctrine, business strategy, or sustainability plan someone’s own, they need a degree of agency over it.
A lasting impact means including everyone
“It was clear to us from the get-go, that for our sustainability efforts to succeed, we needed to get everyone at Raisio on board with the Good Food Plan”, Sari outlines. “Every Raisio employee’s input is more than welcome, and this simply wouldn’t work unless everyone feels included in the process.”
The lofty aim of making the Good Food Plan a company-wide goal takes time, dedication, and hefty amount of patience – but, then again, so does pretty much any worthwhile endeavor under the sun. Where others might see a mountain of challenges, however, Sari sees an oasis of possibilities.
“I would rather look at it as a mission statement than a set of obstacles”, Sari enthuses. “The Good Food Plan is a trajectory we have placed in front of ourselves, enabling us to move forward together and discover new ways to reach our sustainability goals.”
For Raisio, sustainable business has proven cost-efficient business. This has been achieved by taking a long and practical look at every facet of production from start to finish, from the processing of oat shells born as byproducts, to reducing plastic in product packaging. Sari also emphasizes that this mode of operation would not be possible without participation from every individual at Raisio. After all, regardless of our differences, the one thing we all share is this blue dot floating in space – and it is up to all of us to take better care of it.
Good Food is good food
“Everything we do at Raisio is built upon our values: Fairness, Courage, and Drive”, Sari continues. “This goes hand-in-hand with our purpose – Food for Health, Heart and Earth – as well as the tenets of the Good Food Plan. We want to provide people with food that’s good for them, while making sure it’s produced as responsibly as possible. There is no better example of this than our selection of plant-based products.”
Will plant-based food save the world? Who knows – but providing your customers with an inspiring array of healthy plant-based ingredients is a monumental leap in the right direction. Raisio’s textured protein minces are not only healthy, packed to the brim with protein and easily adaptable to any and all menus – but they are also blessed with Raisio’s special attention towards even the most minute details of the products’ contents. The ethos of placing nutritional value sky high is indicative of Raisio’s core values, perfectly in line with their production model governed by the Good Food Plan.
None of this can be achieved on an empty stomach, however. When asked which of Raisio’s plant-based delicacies is Sari’s favorite, the answer won’t come as a surprise to any oat-loving Finn: she is most fond of Raisio’s oat minces.
Read more about Raisio’s Good Food Plan here, and get in contact with Raisio’s Export Manager Ville Viksten to learn more about Raisio’s textured mince products. Raisio’s team of experts will help you offer your clientele a fresh breeze of culinary experiences with products of immaculate taste, exceptional nutritional value, and endless applicability, produced under the guidelines of a sustainable production cycle like no other.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Export Manager, Plant Proteins
+358 44 231 7906
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