Our customer Kuusisto (from Finland) has an interesting story that we would like to share. This customer case is based on an interview with Mr. Kuusisto himself. We would like to thank him for his time and the insightful story.
The farm is located in the southern part of Finland, Antti’s great grandfather bought it in 1920. At that time, the business was focused on producing and selling dairy products and potatoes. In 1962 they discontinuedthe dairy business to solely focus on the potatoes operation. The 4th generation is currently running the farm. Antti and his two cousins took over the farm in 2015, they grow 185 ha of potatoes. The distribution of tasks is simple; one cousin is responsible for local sales and distribution of packed potatoes. The other cousin for labour and machines in the packinghouse. Antti is the General Manager and is responsible for the fields and crops. Kuusisto only grow table potatoes, of which they have 14 varieties. They work on a 5-6 crop rotation, they put potatoes in one field for three years in a row and grow grass and cereals in the fields of neighboring farms for the next two or three years. This means that even if Kuusisto only grows potatoes on his own land, neighboring farms also allow him to grow grass and cereals. They can grow potatoes three years in a row, this is a result of the cold winters in Finland. The frost gets up to 40 cm into the ground, which kills all the volunteers. This freezing cold prevents the nematodes from living in the field, so they cannot affect the potatoes. Therefore, frost has a positive effect on potato growth in Finland.
Kuusisto’s customers’ demand is higher than they can supply with their own potatoes, which is why they have contracts with other potato growers in the region. Throughout the year, Kuusisto packs a total of 11,000 tons in 900gr, 1, 2 and 5 kg in plastic bags on a vertical bagger. They also fill 10 kg crates and small 250 kg containers that also go to supermarkets.
Short growing season
The planting season starts in late April and ends around the end of May, this year they were still planting in early June, so they had some delays, as in all of Europe. Harvest starts at the beginning of September and must be completed in the first week of October, because around that time the first night frosts starts. Despite the short growing season, the yields of 40-50 tons/ha in Finland are similar to central Europe.
In Finland, there is a trend for smaller packages. Sales of 900 g and 1 kg packages grew by 25% in one year, sales of 2 kg fell by 10-15% and sales of 5 kg were also lower. Antti sees demand in even smaller packages of 500 and 750 g. The Finnish population is approximately 5,5 million of which 1 are single-person households, who don’t buy 5 kg bags. He also sees a growing demand for small potatoes, called salat potatoes, and specialties such as potatoes with herbs and spices. Off course the plastic discussion is also in Finland a topic, Kuusisto has moved already to thinner plastic foil and the market is also looking for biodegradable- and recycled plastic bags.
Kuusisto is not only selling their products as a private label for supermarkets, they also have their own brand, by which they promote sports. This Kuusisto brand is sold in both supermarkets and local market stores in their region.
Antti was already aware of the machines of Manter; in his region, there are quite some Manter machines running. As well Arttu Pisilä of the Finnish Manter dealer Konekanta, was not a new face for Kuusisto. Arttu is already taking care of some services for their other machinery. The solution Manter offered with the high capacity and together with an competitive price, did Kuusisto decide to go for a new Manter MD12 weigher together with a new VFFS bagger. The setup was really quick, in just a few days the machines were installed and running at full capacity. The operators quickly understood how the machine works. Service is nearby with Konekanta, something he is very happy about. So far, however, he has never had to use it. In the half year Kuusisto has been working with the weigher now, they haven’t had any problems with it at all. He had expected some hick-ups in the first 2 or 3 months, but nothing has happened at all. Operators work easily with the machine and switching to other programs is just a few taps on the screen and all the right settings are loaded.
Manter and Konekanta are happy with the delivery of this weigher at Kuusisto and we are looking forward to a sustainable and long relationship.