Scandinavian companies HKScan and Hes-Pro Oy have signed a cooperation agreement to develop, produce and launch plant-based protein products.

Hes-Pro Oy is part of the same group of companies as the fast food chain Hesburger.

According to a press release from HKScan, change in consumer buying behavior has increased the demand for plant-based protein products and both the companies want to be strongly present in the growth of this sector.

In line with the cooperation agreement, HKScan will launch plant-based protein products during the first half of 2020, first in the food service channel and later in retail. The products are developed by Hes-Pro that will initially also manufacture the products at its new production unit in Kaarina (Finland). The parties will later look into expanding production to HKScan’s units as well.

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“Cooperation with Hes-Pro, part of the Hesburger group, is a natural step for HKScan as a part of its new Group strategy implementation and supports the company’s target to grow into a versatile food company and to expand into new product categories and raw materials. Responsibly produced meat and meat products will continue to be at the core of HKScan’s operations, but to establish a broader base for our future growth, we want to be actively present in new consumer trends. Hes-Pro has done excellent work on the development of plant-based protein products and it is great to start working with them. The collaboration is a good example of HKScan’s partnership strategy whereby we are involved in evolving product categories and sales channels also through strong partnerships," says HKScan CEO Tero Hemmilä.

New plant-based protein products will be first launched in Finland, but HKScan is also looking into opportunities to sell the products in its other home markets in the Baltic Sea region. HKScan will launch the products in the strongly growing food service channel and in the evolving retail under the company’s own brands.

Hes-Pro has long been working on the development of plant-based protein products. Heikki Salmela, chairman of the Hes-Pro board, said: “We recognized the growing need for plant-based protein products several years ago and started developing our own plant-based protein products. Our goal is to make exceptionally tasty products using our own recipe. We have been looking for a suitable partner to launch our products widely to the consumer market. We were looking for an experienced partner with a strong presence in the consumer market and a wide geographical reach. So it is great to start working with HKScan, a company with an extensive sales and distribution network in the Nordic countries. I believe that the partnership with Hes-Pro will also support HKScan’s goal to grow as a versatile food company."

HKScan, according to the Poultry International Top Companies survey, is the 28th largest poultry company in Europe.