Stora Enso highlights its smallest site--located in village of Tiukka, Finland--which converts corrugated boxes that are used to pack Finnish vegetables; waste material from the plant is reused for making cores for paper and board reels

Sample article from our Consumer packaged goods (CPG)

November 6, 2023 (press release) –

The packaging plant in Kristiinankaupunki has a long history. The plant, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, was originally founded to ensure that the local youth would not move away to Sweden to find work. 

"In the countryside, only the eldest child could take over a family farm, so younger siblings had to find work elsewhere. At the same time, farmers had begun favoring lighter boxes made of corrugated board to transport their products, instead of the traditional wooden boxes. The village consensus was that the youth would do well to manufacture corrugated boxes," says Kristiinankaupunki Plant Manager Minna Hildén.

The name of the mill was a topic for serious consideration. The idea was to highlight the universal nature of the packaging products, so the words universal and förpackning ('package') were central themes during the brainstorming process. However, when put together, the words lead to a combination that seemed to be too long.

"The story goes that the discussion went on until some lady at a coffee party exclaimed that 'why can't the mill simply be called Uni-Pak?' That was the perfect name, and it's still what the mill is called to this day, among the local people when it's not simply referred to as the Tiukka mill," Hildén says.

As the decades have gone by, plenty of other things, other than boxes, have been manufactured at the Tiukka mill. In 1969, a sewing workshop called Uni-Cell was founded at the mill to provide work especially for the women of the village. The women would sew fibre cloth into things like airplane head rest protectors.

In 1985, the mill was bought by Enso-Gutzeit, and in 2001 it was made a part of Stora Enso's packaging division. The original 400 square metre plant floor has expanded to become an industrial area of approximately 9,000 square metres.

These days, the plant in Kristiinankaupunki is known for its multilingualism. Almost a fifth of the employees are other than Finnish nationals. Of the Finns, the majority are Swedish speakers, which is par for the course, considering the plant's location in Ostrobothnia.

Hildén says that Finnish, Swedish, and English are all spoken equally at the plant. Filipino or Estonian may also be heard sometimes when workers happen to find themselves paired with a compatriot.

The surroundings of the Kristiinankaupunki plant are idyllic. The mill is located on the riverside; on the opposite side of the river there are farmhouses from the 19th century. The city centre is eight kilometres away.

The quality requirements for food packaging are high

Nowadays the mill mostly converts corrugated board packaging for the needs of the domestic food and beverage industry. The corrugated sheets used as raw material are delivered directly on-site from Stora Enso's Lahti mill. 

Its best-known product may well be the iconic five-kilogram strawberry box, but most tomato and cucumber packaging seen in grocery stores and market stalls are also often made in Kristiinankaupunki. The majority of the production is sold to local vegetable growers. When the packaging is used for food, the quality requirements are high. 

“We are a part of the logistics chain of foodstuffs, so the packaging materials and the production processes must follow our customers' requirements closely. Nothing extra is allowed to get into the packaging all the chemicals used in the process must be food-safe, and the factory must have plans and methods for insect and pest control.” 

If the packaging comes in direct contact with foods, liners and fluting need to be approved for that purpose. If, for example, a pizza is first packaged in plastic wrapping, it can be packed into a package that has been manufactured from recycled fibre. 

"All packaging is carefully optimised. Lahti mill has several different corrugated recipes, one of which is sure to suit the needs of any customer perfectly. No over-packaging occurs; the customer’s packaging logistics and the product's shelf life are optimised so that the product can be delivered to the end user in prime condition without a single gram of wasted packaging material," Hildén emphasises. 

The packaging is also a key aspect of product safety because the packer's information is printed on the outer surface of the packaging. 

Attractive packaging increases sales

To stand out from the masses, the packaging must be attractive. Visual image of the packaging follows trends, which is why product packages are frequently updated.

“Thanks to modern technology, designs can be customised and updated relatively quickly and with low cost. Even individual campaigns can now have their own packaging designs made for them. However, the packaging size and construction are rarely changed, because that also requires changes to the packaging automation on customer’s side.”

The hot topic of the day is sustainability

"Recycled materials are popular, and customers want to ensure that their packaging can be recycled in turn. Corrugated cardboard itself is a fully recyclable material. The waste material from our plant is also reused for making cores for paper and board reels."

The Kristiinankaupunki plant's carbon footprint is further reduced when the plant's heating can be changed from oil heating to ground heating. The process is already underway.

“Our goal is to be the first carbon-neutral Stora Enso mill in the Nordic countries. Plenty of other investments have been made in Kristiinankaupunki, too. We received a flat-ped die-cut machine from Lahti at the end of the last year; like a giant cookie cutter, it which can cut a package of desired size and shape from corrugated sheet.”

"In addition, we received a high-quality printing machine from Lahti this spring, and it makes it possible to print on surface-treated, glossy cardboard. With that we create almost photo quality prints for our customers," Hildén adds. 

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

We offer built-to-order consumer packaged goods (cpg) coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

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