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Orkla wants to be one of the foremost players in alternative proteins in Europe

May 31, 2023

Orkla is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the consumer, out-of-home and bakery markets in the Nordics, Baltics and selected markets in Central Europe and India. However, one of the company's goals is to become a leader in the European alternative proteins space before 2030. That is why the group is now establishing Orkla Alternative Proteins (OAP) as a separate business unit.

“We are just at the beginning of a massive shift towards alternative protein sources," said Jaan Ivar Semlitsch, Orkla President & CEO. "For Orkla, alternative proteins is an important priority area that offers major growth opportunities. Our goal is to reach out to everyone with plant-based food, and to ensure that people can choose these products without having to compromise on taste or consistency.  We intend to make it easier to choose healthy, sustainable alternatives to meat and dairy products as part of our daily diet.”

The United Nations estimates that approximately 15% of global CO2 emissions can be linked to animal husbandry for food production, and given the current population growth rate, meat production will have to double by 2050.  It is impossible to meet these demands without finding significantly more sustainable methods of producing proteins.

Orkla targets strong growth in plant-based food in the coming years. The plant-based brands, NATURLI’, Anamma, Felix Veggie, Beauvais Veggie, and Lecora Green Line had a total turnover of NOK 869 million (US$77.9 million) in 2020 and grew by 21% compared with 2019. Consumption of alternative proteins is still low, and Orkla targets substantial growth in this area. By 2025, the group aims to attain a turnover of NOK 3 billion (US$269 million) in plant-based food. This target is to be achieved through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

“The work that has been done by our many business units is impressive. The positions gained by NATURLI’ and Anamma have inspired us to focus on this new area,” continued Semlitsch.

“More and more consumers want to have healthier, more sustainable alternatives to traditional meat and dairy products.  Technological advances will enable us to develop new products that are at least as good in terms of taste, consistency, and nutritional content.  The potential in our present home markets and in new areas is considerable,” added Elin Tveito Lidman, who was appointed CEO of Orkla Alternative Proteins (OAP) at the end of April.

Elin Tveito Lidman has 14 years of experience from different Orkla companies. She previously held the position of Vice President Strategy at Orkla, before which she was the Marketing Director at Orkla Home & Personal Care.

Under her leadership, OAP will work closely with the various companies in Orkla Food Ingredients and Orkla Foods that currently develop, market, and sell plant-based food.

OAP and these companies will jointly develop a general strategy for alternative proteins at Orkla, with a view to strengthening the Group’s long-term competitiveness. There will still be focus on building and developing strong local positions, and OAP will also contribute to accelerating the pace of growth outside Orkla’s present home markets.

“I am looking forward to getting started on recruiting key personnel for the OAP organisation, and to working closely with everyone already engaged in building up Orkla’s plant-based business,” said Tveito Lidman, who will report to Johan Clarin, EVP & CEO of Orkla Food Ingredients. She will also have a reporting line to Atle Vidar Nagel-Johansen, EVP & CEO of Orkla Foods. The present business units will continue to have profit responsibility for plant-based products.

“We will continue to build and develop our positions in our home markets," stated Nagel-Johansen. "NATURLI’ is already market leader for plant-based food in Denmark and is sold in a wide range of countries. In Sweden, Anamma has been a success story since the very outset almost 20 years ago, and Frankful is a new sustainability-driven brand that focuses on plant-based, climate-smart foods. By establishing OAP, we want to strengthen our focus on technology and long-term development work, in addition to exploring opportunities outside our current home markets.”

“We aim to contribute to improving our existing product portfolio, while also ensuring that we have the necessary expertise to develop the next generation’s alternative proteins," stated Clarin. "We will also consider increasing our presence in other parts of the value chain. The competition is tough in this area, with multinational companies, major grocery chains and local players that are committing heavily and investing substantial amounts. In addition to leveraging our in-depth local insight into taste and consumer preferences, we will set ourselves apart from our competitors by investing in technology and cultivating partnerships, also with smaller companies.  Orkla will make larger-scale acquisitions if and when the right opportunities arise.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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