In March, we held our regular VAFO board meeting, this time focusing on the group’s long-term strategy. Current trends are dominated by superpremium pet foods with a high content of fresh meat as well as premium wet foods, of which there is an insufficient selection in the European market. Moreover, In Western Europe we see consumers turning away from snacks imported from China and looking for European alternatives instead. And that is just one of the reasons why, by 2025, we will be building a new fully automated factory specializing in premium wet pet foods and tripling our existing snack production capacity.
In our industry, European consumers are increasingly educated and informed. They are interested in the quality of the products they buy and want to know what is in them and what the manufacturers are doing to protect the environment. All of this means consumers are increasingly making the move to more premium products. With Carnilove True Fresh at the forefront, demand for our superpremium pet foods is experiencing sustained growth. We will now be supplying these pet foods to nearly 120 additional retailers in France, for instance. Demand for wet foods has also gone up, and our factory in Chotoviny is constantly ramping up production. But this capacity is not unlimited, which is why by 2025 we want to build a brand-new wet food factory. We have had only the best experience with the local government in Tampere, Finland, where we are currently building a second factory, and we would like to find a similarly accommodating long-term partner for our continued expansion.
We are also increasing capacity by almost 10% at our Polish factory for handmade rawhide chewbones located near the village of Słupsko. Already, this factory is the largest of its kind in Europe.
In addition, we are seeking new possibilities in the use of renewable resources. By May, our factory in the Estonian village of Ebavere will be recycling 100% of the water it uses. Also in Słupsk, Poland, we are gradually increasing the capacity of our solar panels, which will soon cover one fourth of our total electricity needs at the factory. At the same time, we are working on reducing our total energy consumption at all of our factories, and that is one of the reasons we are investing not only in sustainable activities, such as renewable energy sources, but also in the latest technologies delivering reduced consumption per unit produced.
Our sustainability strategy will be reflected in all of VAFO Group’s future decisions, including those relating to matters beyond energy. It is part of the DNA of a company that wants to produce foods that are better not only for our pets but also for the planet. In the coming months, our customers can look forward to a whole new lineup of carbon-neutral products manufactured by VAFO Group under the Planet Pet Society label.