Farmers and employees appeal to Orkla: Do not close the Taffel chips plant, sign the online petition

25.2.2016

The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners MTK, The central union of Swedish-speaking agricultural producers in Finland SLC, Finnish Food Workers’ Union SEL, Transport Workers’ Union AKT and Trade Union Pro are appealing to Orkla not to close its potato processing plant in Aland. These organisations are challenging consumers to use their influence by signing a petition to Orkla to protect domestic production and keep the plant open.

The production facility, which makes Taffel potato chips and Oolannin frozen potato products for the Norwegian Orkla Group in Haraldsby, is one of Aland's largest industrial facilities, employing directly more than a hundred people. The closing of the plant would, however, have a much larger impact on unemployment, as the entire production chain from fields to stores provides income for almost 300 people.

- The Orkla facility is of real importance in terms of Aland's employment and food industry. We challenge customers to use their influence and convince Orkla to keep its production plant and the jobs it provides in Aland, says SEL’s chairman Veli-Matti Kuntonen.

Studies have shown that of all chips brands, Finnish consumers prefer Taffel. In addition to flavour, being domestic products gives the Taffel chips and Oolannin frozen potato products their key competitive advantage. The majority of the plant’s production is sold in the Finnish market.

- Finnish consumers value domestic products more than ever. Orkla would take a considerable risk if it were to take their chips production out of Finland. Taffel and Finland are inseparable. MTK’s chairman Juha Marttila is convinced that the Finnish consumer will leave chips of foreign origin on the shelf.

The Orkla plant processes yearly some 28 million kilos of potatoes into chips and frozen products. The plant uses up almost the entire potato crop of Aland along with some potatoes grown in the continental Finland. Some contract farmers in the provinces of Uusimaa and Southwest Finland, among others, deliver their entire harvest to the Orkla production facility in Aland.

- Keeping the plant in production is of paramount importance for Aland’s agriculture as well as the whole Finnish potato production, as nearly one-third of the potatoes for the Finnish food industry is grown in Aland, says SLC's chairman Holger Falck.

The closing of Orkla’s production facility in Aland would also have severe consequences for the transport industry. Around one thousand truckloads of potatoes are brought in to the plant every year. The traffic volume is increased by the fact that 97% of the facility’s products are consumed in the continental Finland.

- In addition to decreasing the number of transport jobs, the closing of the plant would also have a detrimental effect on Aland’s product logistics, AKT's chairman Marko Piirainen believes.

MTK, SLC, SEL, AKT and Pro challenge consumers to use their influence on Orkla and sign a petition to keep the facility in production at www.adressit.com/sips.

Employee co-operation negotiations at the Aland production facility of Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Finland are expected to take at least six weeks. The negotiations began in early February.