Finland-based food firm Raisio has formed a strategic partnership with Italian health and well-being company Dr Schär to co-operate in product development and manufacturing.

Dr Schär develops and manufactures gluten-free food for people with special dietary requirements. It operates in nine countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Raisio, which offers cholesterol-lowering functional foods, said that the alliance will open new opportunities for its Benecol and Elovena brands in Dr Schär’s markets.

“The strategic alliance with Raisio is an important step for us as it will enable us to further develop and strengthen our distribution network.”

Furthermore, the Finnish food firm noted that the long-term framework agreement will help the partners to combine expertise and open commercial opportunities for both firms.

Raisio president and CEO Pekka Kuusniemi said: “With its clear focus and high expertise in the markets of value-added products, Dr Schär is an excellent partner. Dr Schär’s strong foothold in Europe complements Raisio’s geographical presence.”

Dr Schär’s CEO Ulrich Ladurner said: “The strategic alliance with Raisio is an important step for us as it will enable us to further develop and strengthen our distribution network.

“In addition, Raisio’s value brands will complete our portfolio and we will get access to Raisio’s excellence in oats. As a family-owned company, it is important for us to know that the companies share the same core values.”

Dr Schär has a work force of 1,270 people and manages 10 production facilities. The company’s net sales stood at €360m in 2018.

Last year, Raisio registered net sales of €228m from continuing operations.