The Tampere-based pet food producer Prima Pet Premium Oy and its Czech parent company, VAFO Group, are investing in Pirkanmaa by building a new pet food factory in Nokia. The investment will bring jobs and other economic benefits to the area.
The new factory in Nokia will increase the domestic production capacity of dry pet food by 20 million kilos. Large even on the national Finnish scale, the investment is particularly significant for the Pirkanmaa region. The factory will be completed in the early part of next year, with commercial production scheduled to begin in February or March. Despite the current world situation, construction of the factory has progressed on schedule without major problems.
Prima Pet Premium is part of the Czech VAFO Group. The new factory in Nokia’s Kolmenkulma industrial area represents an investment of more than 20 million euros and is the largest Czech investment in Finland to date. The project is evidence that Finnish knowhow is highly valued abroad.
“Once production has started, we’ll be able to better meet consumers’ desire to have domestic, locally produced pet food. Merely “designed in Finland” is no longer enough. Being domestic and taking environmental issues into account is important to consumers and to us as well. It’s also great to be involved in influencing the regional economy and employment,” says Timo Pärssinen, CEO of Prima Pet Premium.
When production starts, eight new jobs will be created in Pirkanmaa. By 2025, when the factory’s full capacity is being put to use, it will employ approximately 15 to 20 people in production and packaging tasks. Indirectly, the employment effects are greater, as the factory intends to use as many domestic raw materials as possible. Moreover, when choosing packaging materials, the company is considering all domestic manufacturers with whom responsible and sustainable packaging can be developed.
Workforce is still needed for Nokia during the rest of the year.
“We’re an interesting and responsible employer, and we offer opportunities for many different career paths. The factory manager, for example, has risen to the task from inside the company,” explains Mr Pärssinen.
The new factory in Nokia points to a trend in the pet food business: demand is growing, and locality is becoming more important. In addition, economic fluctuations do not affect the demand for pet food in the same way as many other sectors. The number of pets increases in exceptional times, such as during a recession or the months of the covid pandemic. According to Mr Pärssinen, the Finnish pet product market is estimated to be worth 650 million euros per year. It is a major business, and now the Pirkanmaa region is becoming an even bigger part of this whole.