3. June 2024

“It feels good to give back in tough times”

Despite a demanding year within the Kavli Group, employee dedication and strong performance ensured positive results. ”In tough times, knowing we make a difference matters even more,” says CEO Kenneth Hamnes.

This article is published in Kavli Trust’s annual report 2023.
Photo on top: Kavli Holding AS

Download the full report here

Read more:

Press release: Spreadable cheese and paté contributed NOK 50.2 million to good causes

Editorial: Stronger together for good causes!

”I’m proud to lead a company that puts all profits toward good causes,” says Hamnes.

As CEO of the Kavli Group, he leads the value creation that ultimately empowers Kavli Trust to support good causes. Each year, after operational and development costs, profits are transferred to the foundation as dividends.

Hamnes underscores: ”Kavli exists to improve lives and society. That’s our purpose.”

Result boost

After a difficult 2022, the group saw positive signs in 2023 despite challenges in raw materials, energy, packaging costs and the ongoing fight for fair conditions with Q-Meieriene Norway.

”Our employees’ outstanding efforts across the group made all the difference in overcoming obstacles,” states Hamnes.

CEO: “We continuously strive to make the Kavli companies more relentless in all areas, so that Kavli Trust can be even more generous,” says CEO Kenneth Hamnes. Photo: Kavli Holding AS

Swedish and british highlights

The CEO points to strong profits for Kavli Sweden and a record year for Castle MacLellan (Scotland) as key 2023 successes.

“Kavli Sweden swiftly restored profitability, while Castle MacLellan achieved a record-breaking year,” he says.

Jubilee year for spreadable cheese

Innovation and improvements stand strong in the Kavli Group, just as it has done ever since Olav Kavli founded the business at the end of the 19th century. Product development and sustainability are dual priorities driving Kavli’s innovation efforts today.

”We strive every day to ensure the sustainability of our value creation for good causes,” says the CEO.

Hamnes highlights the Q-Meieriene launch of Q Klimamelk® (Climate milk) – low-fat milk claimed to have 20-30 % lower climate emissions, likely because the cows are fed methane inhibitors to reduce methane production (a potent greenhouse gas).

“Q continues to drive innovation, competition on equal terms and aims to achieve a climate-positive dairy by 2023,” says Hamnes.

Photo: Kavli UK
Photo: Kavli UK

Norway: Record participation

Kavli Norway, the group’s other Norwegian company, also boasts strong 2023 environmental efforts. Hamnes highlights record participation in the Aksjon Gjenvinning campaign among Norwegian school children.

The campaign, a collaboration between Forskerfabrikken, Norsk Hydro, Norsk Metallgjenvinning, and Kavli Norway, is supported by Kavli Trust. Its goal is to increase recycling of Kavli tubes and other metal packaging.

18,500 5th graders participated in 2023. Their fun competitions collectively ensured 1.6 tonnes of aluminium were recycled, including 17,000 Kavli tubes.

Hamnes is also proud of Kavli Norway’s 2023 Del-med-glede (Local causes) campaign with grocery chain Rema 1000.

”They received over 4,000 nominations for worthy local causes across Norway, sparking fantastic community involvement in stores,” he says.

Sweden’s softer world

Taste, design, innovation and competitiveness remain the Kavli Group’s core.

”But the true X-factor is our ownership model and donating all profits to good causes. No private owners profit from Kavli,” Hamnes emphasises.

Over the recent years, all Kavli Group companies, alongside Kavli Trust, have focused on raising awareness of this unique aspect.

”The greatest 2023 success is the fantastic feedback for Kavli Sweden’s ’Kavli gör världen mjukare’ (Kavli softens the world) campaign,” says Hamnes.

”Kavli Sweden humorously modernised how we communicate our unique ownership, resonating deeply with Swedish consumers. It shows how we can update the brand and tell our story in ways relevant to today’s audience,” he says.

Too little known

The CEO notes the ownership model remains too obscure.

”Consumers want their everyday purchases to support good causes. Often, they’re surprised to learn about our model and say, ’Why didn’t I know about this?’ We’ll continue raising awareness in the coming years,” he promises.

”It’s a virtuous circle. Awareness boosts consumer preference, which in turn generates more profits for good causes.”

FOOD RESCUE AWARD: Q-Meieriene presented its Food Rescue Award to Havila Kystruten in recognition of their commitment to reducing food waste. Since 2018, Q-Meieriene has honoured over 30 organisations for their leadership in food rescue, aligning with Kavli Trust’s commitment to environmental and climate responsibility. Photo: Martin Lavik Nygaard/Kavli Norway

Ownership trendsetter

Over 60 years after Knut Kavli, son of founder Olav Kavli, established Kavli Trust as Kavli’s sole owner, CEO Kenneth Hamnes applauds a growing trend within the business world towards similar models.

”Our founders were philanthropic visionaries. It’s inspiring to see leading companies and owners recognise foundations as an exciting form of social responsibility,” says Hamnes, highlighting recent announcements by Patagonia® and Ferd to shift their organisational structures.

He believes this benefits companies immensely.

”Working for a company focused solely on maximising value for good causes, giving back to society, boosts pride and motivation,” he says. ”In tough times, knowing we make a difference feels especially good – I believe consumers appreciate this too.”

Anniversary ahead

2024 promises exciting innovations and new products. It also marks a major milestone: 100 years since Kavli’s greatest success, the spreadable cheese. As the world’s first soft, flavourful spreadable cheese under the Primula brand, the Norwegian innovator made history.

”All Kavli companies will create anniversary editions, inviting consumers to celebrate,” says Hamnes, noting that spreadable cheese remains the group’s flagship product.

”We have exciting times ahead!”