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K Group, Gasum and Turenki Ice Cream Factory partnering to promote circular economy and reduce waste

Inedible organic waste from 200 K-food stores and the Kesko logistics central warehouse is currently recycled to produce biogas. Now biogas will be used to power the making of Pirkka ice cream at Turenki Ice Cream Factory.

Food store customers are putting increasing value on sustainability: according to the Suomi Syö survey by Taloustutkimus, 46% of people under 25 consider the reduction of food waste an important factor in food chain sustainability, and 44% an important factor in food chain eco-friendliness. Similar results were obtained in K Group’s Ruokailmiöt 2017 survey on food trends: 30% of Finns want to choose the more environmentally-friendly product in a store, and as many as 47% of Finns strive to reduce food waste.

From waste to energy

K-food stores are striving to reduce waste and they are constantly working towards developing solutions to prevent waste. One innovative solution is to recycle inedible biodegradable waste to produce biogas. Biowaste is currently collected from some 200 K-food stores and the Kesko logistics central warehouse, and taken to biogas plants. The biogas produced is transmitted to Gasum’s gas network. The solution reduces K Group’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 540 tonnes per year, which equals to the emissions of driving a car for 4.5 million kilometres. The biogas produced is then used to power the manufacture of new Pirkka products.

Gasum and K Group are now joined in the collaboration by Turenki Ice Cream Factory, as renewable energy in the form of Finnish biogas will be used in the making of Pirkka ice creams.

”Unsold products are mostly donated to food aid organisations. Our collaboration with Gasum, however, gives us a smart way to also utilise inedible biowaste, and save money and the environment in the process,” says Timo Jäske, Sustainability Manager for K Group’s grocery trade division.

”This is an excellent continuation to our extensive co-operation with K Group, as we are giving Finnish consumers another sweet way to enjoy sustainability, Finnish work, and the end products of circular economy,” says Ville Pesonen, Head of Sales at Gasum.

Pirkka ice creams easy choice from environmental perspective – manufactured in Turenki, Finland

Finns eat ice cream more than any other nation in Europe, some 13 litres per person quite steadily throughout the year. In 2016, nearly 2.9 million one-litre packages of vanilla ice cream alone were purchased from K-food stores. Consumers can have an impact on the environment through the products they choose to buy. Pirkka ice creams are an easy choice for the environment. The stores are able to minimise waste, while the emissions in ice cream production are reduced as biogas does not produce carbon dioxide emissions.

At this first stage, Turenki Ice Cream Factory will produce four Pirkka ice creams sold in one-litre packages: regular and lactose-free vanilla, mango and melon, and lactose-free raspberry liquorice. 

”At Turenki Ice Cream Factory, we use Finnish milk and cream, obtained, for example, from the Herajoki dairy. We are thrilled we have been able to start using biogas this autumn. Finnish consumers value highly both Finnish ingredients and Finnish energy sources,” says Pekka Helin, Commercial Director for Froneri Finland.

The new additions to Pirkka ice creams represent flavours that have not been available in one-litre packages before. Mango and melon is one of the most popular ice cream flavours at Finnish ice cream kiosks, and now people can enjoy it at home, too. The demand for lactose-free ice cream is growing, and the latest addition to Pirkka’s lactose-free options combines the familiar raspberry with trendy liquorice. 

Gasum and K Group collaboration in a nutshell

  • Initiated in 2015: Biogas produced from inedible organic waste collected from K-food stores is utilised as energy by Myllyn Paras and Wursti in the manufacture of new Pirkka products.

  • 2016–2017: Inedible food waste from K-food stores is taken to Gasum plants to produce biogas. Waste is currently collected from more than 200 K-food stores.

  • 2017: Biogas is used to power the making of Pirkka ice cream at Turenki Ice Cream Factory.

  • K Group’s car trade has brought new gas cars to the market. The most recent model is the Audi A4 g-tron.  

  • Audi and Gasum’s campaign provides free biogas fuel-ups for 12 months. Audi offers free biogas fuel-ups for 12 months for the buyers of the new Audi A3 g-tron and Audi A4 g-tron.

For more information please contact:

Timo Jäske, Sustainability Manager, K Group’s grocery trade, phone: +358 10 5328 222,

Pekka Helin, Commercial Director, Froneri Finland Oy, phone: +358 40 0526 522,

Ville Pesonen, Head of Sales, Gasum Oy, phone: +358 40 5587 890,

K-food retailers are responsible for customer satisfaction at some 1,400 K-food stores, and Kesko's grocery trade works with these retailers under the chain business model. The K-food store chains are K-Citymarket, K-Supermarket, K-Market and Neste K. K-food stores are the world's most sustainable trading sector companies. Their strengths also include superior fresh food departments, professional service, diverse and high-quality selections, Finnish products, and the private label Pirkka. K-food stores provide both high quality and affordable prices. K - For shopping to be fun.

Froneri Finland Oy is part of the international Froneri joint venture owned by the food company Nestlé and the British ice cream manufacturer R&R. Froneri has operations in 22 countries and employs some 200 people in Finland. Froneri Finland manufactures ice cream locally at the facility in Turenki using Finnish milk and cream.