By Tissue World magazine editor Helen Morris
TWM interviews Robert Jensen, Sofidel Sweden, country operations manager, on the latest tissue trends in the region.
Sofidel’s Swedish plant produces 56,000tpy of private label products, specialist tissue in jumbo reels and the Lycke products brand. The private label products are intended for the Nordic markets, in particular Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
TWM/1: What are the main opportunities for Sofidel in Scandinavia’s tissue markets?
“We regard our “local heritage” and innovation as our main opportunities. Sofidel Sweden is a tissue company located in the Municipality of Kinda in Östergötland County, Sweden. There is a long history of paper-making on the site in Kisa, dating back to the 19th century when production of hand paper began in
1868. Since 2010 the company has formed part of the Italian group Sofidel.”
“Today, it has a fully integrated tissue process that consists of the production of parent reels and finished consumer products. The new plant is currently the most automated production site of the Sofidel Group. It uses technologies that allows us to meet energy targets as well as drastically reduce water consumption. Furthermore, our “smart store” uses best-in-class technology: from laser-guided vehicles to fully automated machines. This innovation contributes in terms of maximising safety, minimising waste and having ultimate care for products.”
TWM/2: What are the main challenges for you in Scandinavia’s tissue markets?
“It’s a market that appreciates values and consistency. It is not just about tissue. Scandinavia is not in general a market for quick wins. This is what has led to investment in automation so we can deliver safety and quality, and ultimately developing the trust with customers. Today, Sofidel’s plant in Kisa is one of the largest in Scandinavia and one of the most modern facilities in the Nordic countries area.”
TWM/3: How are you dealing with Scandinavia’s substantial (but flat) tissue demand?
“The Scandinavian markets are highly competitive, with a few strong players. In this context we are trying to increase the quality of our products. This means aiming to maximise comfort and hygiene in tune with our customer and consumer needs and at the same time to minimise the environmental impact, reduce waste and promote responsible consumption. In general terms, it’s about trying to de-commoditise tissue products by adding shared value.”
TWM/4: What are the main tissue consumer trends you’re seeing?
“Scandinavia is in the vanguard in terms of environmental consciousness. And in this regard, as a company that deeply believes in sustainability as a lever of growth, Sofidel is committed to guaranteeing shared values for all its stakeholders. Also in Sweden, one of our main objectives is to partner with stakeholders and decision-makers to help face key environmental and social topics starting from the tissue sector.”
TWM/5: How have the economic conditions in Scandinavia presented opportunities and challenges for you?
“The main opportunity has been about developing a historic tissue site and renewing the original people’s passion with an Italian touch. Regarding the challenges, the greatest one is to merge different cultures in order to meet new needs.”
TWM/6: How are you aiming to grow in the region?
“In line with Sofidel’s approach in Europe we aim to develop organic growth, driven by marketing, targeting the manufacture of products that offer an ever-shrinking ecological footprint.”