The award-winning Fazer Xylitol factory has started operations in Lahti, Finland. The new state-of-the-art factory showcases an example of circular economy – a patented process transforms upcycled oat hulls into sustainable xylitol. The Finnish food experience company – Fazer is first in the world to produce xylitol from oat hulls. This sweetener can replace sugar and in addition also has moisturising and cooling effects, all desired benefits in applications ranging from food to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. 

Fazer Group is investing in the development of innovative and sustainable foodtech solutions. Producing xylitol from oat hulls is a patented innovation utilising a novel technology developed by Fazer. Until now, oat hulls have not been used for commercial purposes, which makes the product and the production process completely unique. Prior to this, oat hulls have been used mainly for energy production or cattle feed.

“Our new xylitol factory in Finland is a brilliant example of circular economy, preventing waste and in which side streams are upcycled intelligently. What remains of the oat hulls after processing the xylitol is used as bioenergy. As no materials are discarded, our factory’s carbon footprint is very low. We might be talking about the world’s most sustainable xylitol,” said Christoph Vitzthum, President and CEO of Fazer Group.

“We see food as a solution. How we grow, produce, and consume food has a significant impact on the environment, on society and on our well-being. Innovations and foodtech make the food system more productive, sustainable, and healthy. As sustainability is an integral part of Fazer’s strategy, innovations supporting the circular economy, such as the production of Fazer Xylitol from oat hulls, represent a future direction for the food industry”, continued Vitzthum. 

The xylitol market is expected to grow globally

The food industry as well as the modern consumers are looking for healthier alternatives to replace white sugar and to boost well-being. Xylitol is a sweetener that is low in calories – containing only 60% of the calories in sugar – yet it tastes as sweet as sugar.

Sustainability in food and nutrition is high on Fazer’s agenda, and the company sees innovations as a key enabler in executing its strategy. In addition to Fazer Xylitol production, the plant’s patented technology can be licensed to other oat mills thus increasing the potential access to the next generation xylitol around the world. 

“We have at hand an innovation where we combine patented new technology, healthier options to consumers and an excellent example of an innovative circular economy solution. Nordic oats have a superior reputation for their purity and quality, and Finland is known for high-quality food and technology expertise. About 90% of our xylitol innovation will be exported. The next generation xylitol is of particular interest in Europe, the United States and Asia,” says Vitzthum.

A plant-based sweetener with benefits in many applications areas

“Fazer Xylitol is an excellent sweetener and a substitute for sugar. But it also offers plenty of other opportunities for product development. Fazer Xylitol, for example, has cooling and moisturizing properties that open new and exciting development opportunities for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products,” said James Dedman, Vice President of Fazer Foodtech.

Fazer is building partnerships with various industries. “We want to create sustainable solutions for the people and the planet. Our Fazer Xylitol show how side streams can be utilised; we want to revolutionise the ways people think about food, and this is only the first step,” Dedman continues.

Facts about the Fazer Xylitol Factory

  • Fazer produces Fazer Xylitol in three different qualities: crystal, granule, and powder.
  • Commercial production of Fazer Xylitol started in April 2022. The factory’s construction took take place in 2019–2021.
  • The carbon footprint of Fazer Xylitol production is very small, due to the unique patented upcycling process. 
  • Remaining biomass of the oat hulls provides renewable bioenergy for Fazer factories in Lahti, Finland.
  • Fazer Xylitol factory was awarded by the Finnish Star Act 2020 as a sustainable innovation for a better future. 
  • The factory will further strengthen Fazer’s position as a forerunner in innovative plant-based products and as the leading manufacturer of oat products in Nordic countries.

Facts about Xylitol

·     Xylitol is a sweetener made from xylose. Xylose is found in oats and other plants and trees, such as birch, beech, and corn.

·     Xylitol is low in calories containing only 60% of the calories in sugar, yet it’s as sweet as sugar.

·     Xylitol has a health claim approved by the European Food Safety Authority.

·     Many dentists recommend daily use of xylitol to reduce the risk of plaque buildup that might cause caries.

·     Industrial production of xylitol is a Finnish innovation that dates to 1975.

·     The most popular xylitol products are chewing gums and pastilles (e.g., mints).

Fazer Xylitol

Editorial contact:
Editor: Kiran Grewal kgrewal@kennedys.co.uk