Acquires Finnish vegetarian success
Kavli invests in non-meat growth category.
The Norwegian-owned Kavli food group has strengthened its focus on plant-based foods by acquiring the Finnish company Verso Food. Verso has very quickly become a market leader in Finland with its Härkis brand, selling products based on fava beans.
“We follow a strong growth strategy, so for us it is particularly important to invest in food categories which are developing rapidly,” says Kavli’s CEO Erik Volden (pictured above).
Steps up investments
The group began looking at plant-based products back in 2013, when it acquired another Finnish company, Planti. It produces drinks, yoghurt and food preparation products made from oat and soya. The brand is one of the market leaders within its segments in both Finland and Sweden.
“Acquiring Verso Food signals Kavli’s increased investment in this area. A growing number of people want to eat less meat and more fruit and vegetables. You no longer have to be a vegetarian to be on the lookout for plant-based alternatives to meat. Many others also want to change their diets,” says Volden.
Investing in plant-based foodstuffs
Verso was founded in 2010, and has developed its own patented technology based on the fava bean to produce vegetarian dishes which can replace ingredients such as mince, other meat products and chicken. Unlike soybeans and mycoprotein, fava beans are grown locally in the Nordic region, which means shorter transport and good accessibility.
“Verso Food also fits into our long-term strategy of investing more in plant-based categories, both from a consumer and sustainability perspective. This was also important in 2013, when we acquired Planti,” says Volden.
“A growth company needs an owner who is willing to invest in long-term growth. So we are very happy to have Kavli as our new owner, a company whose ownership form and strategy proves it is very focused on the longer term,” says Leena Saarinen, Chair of Verso Food’s Board of Directors.
Launching in Sweden
Verso Food is based in Helsinki in Finland and has grown quickly in the Finnish market since its beginnings. The company employs 17 people and had a turnover of just over six million euro in 2018. It will open a new production facility in Kauhava in the spring of 2019.
It has been Verso Food’s ambition from the start to grow globally, and the company has already signed agreements to sell its products to several other markets.
“We will also invest in and develop Verso further, as we see a potential far beyond Finland. We expect to be launching several of the company’s products in Sweden during 2019,” says Volden.
The Kavli Group had a turnover of nearly 350 million euro in 2018. The group employs more than 850 people and has companies in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Great Britain. The company is owned by the Norwegian Kavli Trust, which invests the surplus in charitable causes.
For more information, please contact:
Erik Volden, CEO Kavli Holding, tel +47 4760 2200