Simply better baking with less mess

Good ideas are often simple – like lining a GN form with SAGA GN liner paper instead of using butter or oil. This Metsä Tissue product already saves time, effort and money in many industrial kitchens. Demand for the paper, made from Finnish pine pulp, is also growing in export markets.

“OK, what did we have on the menu today?” asks Tuija Lindfors, Head Chef of Päijät-Hämeen Ateriapalvelut, of her co-workers in the kitchen at the Sipura childcare centre in Lahti, Finland. The job of the day is to make some 600 portions of pasta, which will end up not only on the plates of the children under the same roof but also on those of the senior citizens in the nearby residential home. Were the food made in the traditional way, Lindfors and her team would have to start by finding suitable baking dishes and oiling or buttering them with a sufficient amount of grease. This would ensure that the food did not stick to the sides of the steel dish as it cooked. But instead of the hiss of sprayer bottles, what you can hear in Sipura’s kitchen is the rustle of paper as the cooks line the GN forms with sheets of GN Liner paper.

The more convenient option

The preparation kitchens of the food service company, owned by the city of Lahti, have used Metsä Tissue’s SAGA Pan Lining Paper for several years now. The various units of Päijät-Hämeen Ateriapalvelut prepare roughly 25,000 portions of food every day. The benefits accumulated from the use of the GN Liner paper have indeed been clear, according to Development Manager Maarit Tuomala-Nikkanen. The original goal was mainly to reduce food loss, but the balance has also proved to be in the black in many other respects.

“When you’re making casseroles, the food sticking to the sides of the dish amounts to at least a single portion. On top of this, it may stick to the sides pretty tightly. When GN Liner paper is in the baking dish, there’s less food loss, and you can easily wrap up those last spoonfuls and place them in the biowaste bin with the GN Liner paper when necessary. The baking dishes are also easy to wash without scrubbing and soaking, and you’ll no longer need a separate dishwasher for them,” says Tuomala-Nikkanen.

Lindofrs says that the seemingly simple innovation facilitates and considerably lightens the kitchen staff’s daily workload. “The kitchen itself also stays a lot cleaner now that we no longer use the sprayer bottles. This is because the oil or butter you spray always ends up on the worktops and tables, and the floors too, during the day. In addition, you need to wear dust masks when you use sprayer bottles,” says Lindfors.

The environment is also grateful

In the big picture, the use of pan lining paper generates clear savings in waste management costs as food loss decreases. The GN Liner paper itself is compostable and biodegradable. The consumption of energy and water also reduces significantly when the baking dishes can be washed at the same time and on the same wash lines as other dishes.
“While the savings may seem small from individual points of view, they are significant on an annual level in a unit of this size,” says Tuomala-Nikkanen.

Outi Luukkonen, Environmental Manager of the City of Lahti, agrees. She stresses that in the coming years, Lahti will invest heavily in environmental aspects, including the circular economy, the reduction of greenhouse gases and the protection of waterways. In the long run, the aim is to make Lahti a zero-waste city by 2040. “These products fit very nicely into this big picture,” she says.

Awareness of the benefits of pan lining paper is growing

According to Metsä Tissue’s Sales Director Auli Hakkarainen, Päijät-Hämeen Ateriapalvelut is an important pilot customer account and partner for Metsä Tissue, and its experience has been the basis on which the pan lining paper and its properties have been further developed over the last few years.
Equivalent SAGA products are also used by Leijona Catering for one, which is responsible for the Finnish Defence Forces’ catering. Hakkarainen says that interest in the products is indeed growing at a steady rate.
At first, many think that the placing of a paper sheet will be more laborious than oiling or buttering. But the paper’s benefits become clear as soon as they’re faced with the laborious and time-consuming task of scrubbing and washing the baking dishes.

A first-rate product originating from Finnish pine forests
Although the product, made at Metsä Tissue’s Mänttä mill, may seem simple to the layman, it is effectively a tour de force of paper industry engineering.

“The GN Liner paper is the result of years of product development, combining the moisture resistance of greaseproof paper and baking paper’s ability to withstand temperatures as high as 220 degrees. It’s not that easy,” says Hakkarainen.
She adds that the product would not be possible without Finnish long-fibre pine pulp. “This way, the raw material yielded by a Finnish forest can end up lining the lasagne pan of an Italian kitchen, for example,” says Hakkarainen with a smile.

The doors are also open to the export markets

The GN Liner paper is by no means the only new product Metsä Tissue offers. The company’s Greaseproof Paper unit is currently engaged in the development of pulp-based baking forms. In this too, the Lahti-based food service company is one of the important test partners whose experiences Metsä Tissue lends a keen ear to.

“The goal is to replace traditional aluminum pans, tin foil and plastic films with biodegradable and environmentally friendly products. From a global perspective, this is a big opportunity,” says Sales Director Auli Hakkarainen.

In Finland, Metsä Tissue is the clear market leader in cooking papers, and with the pan lining papers, it is pursuing growth in the export markets. It has already seen some good penetration in Russia, as well as Central and Southern Europe.
“Italy and Greece show great potential as a new market, but the product is also attracting interest elsewhere. And its use is by no means limited by the degree to which baked dishes are part of each country’s traditions. Environmental, energy and water consumption challenges are common to us all,” says Hakkarainen.

25 October 2019 | Timo Sormunen in Metsä Group Viesti magazine 09.2019