A hundred years of daily and festive meals

A hundred years of daily and festive meals

Atria’s 100th anniversary gives rise to themes of the future, even institutions: Atria’s Future Seminars, Finnish Barbecuing Championships and the Atria 100 Young Chefs training programme.

In 2003, Atria has been part of the daily and festive meals of Finns for a hundred years. At the company’s 100th anniversary celebration, CEO Seppo Paatelainen says that over the years, the most significant changes at Atria have taken place during Finland’s EU membership. 

“In the future, Atria will continue to seek growth through internationalisation. We will do this alone or with a business partner. I see no obstacles preventing Finnish companies from co-owning enterprises outside Finland. However, as far as I know, there are no such projects in the pipeline,” says Paatelainen.

According to Paatelainen, Atria aims to achieve strong market and operational growth through internationalisation. He also believes that the Finnish processing industry plays a key role from the perspective of producers.           

“Finnish agriculture cannot succeed by producing raw materials for export. Finland is not a country with low manufacturing costs, so we must find strengths other than price. It is hard to imagine that a Finnish food company could succeed globally if it has not been able to build a strong position in its home market.”

Events at Finlandia Hall and VR warehouses

The company celebrates its 100th anniversary by organising a wide range of events for its stakeholders, some of which will live on for years to come and even become independent institutions. 

An example of such an event is the Future Seminar, held for the first time at Finlandia Hall in January 2003, which is organised every year until 2011, a total of nine times. Over the years, the seminar is attended by several ministerial-level guests from Finland and Sweden, policy-makers representing the food sector, decision-makers and specialists from the business sector and professor-level food scientists.

For consumers, Atria sets up the first Finnish Barbecuing Championships in June 2003. People from all over Finland register for the competition. After the qualification rounds, a hundred barbecuers are chosen to take part in the championships held at the VR warehouses in Helsinki. The winner of the first-ever Finnish Barbecuing Championships is Tapu Haro from Helsinki. The family event, which honours cooking and the Finnish barbecue culture, draws a large crowd to the VR warehouses.

The 100 Young Chefs training continues 

The Atria 100 Young Chefs training programme, launched in Atria’s 100th anniversary year, is still going strong in 2015. The programme provides young people with comprehensive and inspirational information that gives them building blocks for developing their careers and skills. Among the key offerings of the training programme, along with networking opportunities, are lectures given by Finnish and international professionals who have succeeded in the food industry.

Trainers invited to the seminars of the programme represent the top of their fields in Finland and internationally. The programme aims to discover young talents who genuinely feel that they have a future in cooking food and creating culinary experiences – young people for whom food is a passion.

The training programme has been headed by the following chefs:

2003 Jyrki Sukula
2004 Aki Wahlman
2005–2009 Jaakko Nuutila
2010–2014 Aki Wahlman

In spring 2005, the Finnish Gastronomic Society awarded the 100 Young Chefs programme a commendation for its efforts to promote Finnish food culture.

From 2003 to 2006, a recipe book entitled ‘Atria 100 Young Chefs’ was compiled at the end of the year containing the best ideas generated during the training programme. The training programme’s 10th anniversary was celebrated in 2012.