100% Estonian-owned, Nõo Lihatööstus is the country’s biggest and most innovative meat producer and processor, employing almost 200 people. As such, we are one of the most important employers and contributors to local life in Southern Estonia. Our delicious, high-quality products boast a high meat content and come in convenient small packs. Our products are made from chilled fresh ingredients just outside of Estonia’s second-largest city, Tartu. Nõo Lihatööstus was founded in 1992 in the sausage factory of the former Nõo collective farm. Our first product was our legendary ‘Rulaad’ ham, which at the time we produced 100 kilos of each and every day. Now our range includes more than 400 items: raw meat, minced meat products, wieners and sausages, hams, pâtés, snacks, seasonal products and more. Surveys have shown that Nõo is a recognised and very popular brand among Estonian consumers, and catering companies also value our products. We also cater for our neighbours by exporting to countries like Latvia and Lithuania. Nõo Lihatööstus is one of the flagships of high-quality Estonian produce. (Incidentally, it was Nõo that promoted the smoked sausage as the international success story of Estonian food it has gone on to become.) Nõo Lihatööstus was awarded the title of ‘Family Company of the Year’ in the ‘Best Estonian Companies’ competition organised by Enterprise Estonia, the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Estonian Employers’ Confederation. As such, Nõo is a major employer but shares the values and follows the standards traditionally associated with family-run companies. Nõo Lihatööstus develops its products so as to help consumers – including young people – make healthy, balanced nutritional choices.
NÕO MEAT PRODUCTS
Nõo Lihatööstus is a perfect example of the quality you can guarantee in large-scale production if you put your heart and soul into it. This is primarily thanks to the organisational culture that has taken root in the company over the years, which is all about ensuring that our workers are proud of what they produce. All of our development has been anchored around a single word: ‘naturally’.
- NATURALLY all of the raw ingredients we use are of the best possible quality.
- NATURALLY we add nothing to our products that we would not feed our own families.
- NATURALLY our decades of dedication have seen us become masters of our craft.
Since Nõo Lihatööstus wants to be at the forefront of food culture among Estonia’s food producers, we have made it our aim to provide consumers with healthy alternatives to the kind of products they are used to. In many of our recipes we have made the switch to sea salt and reduced the overall levels of salt, sugar and fat. We make a point of using only the highest-quality meat in our products, avoiding mechanically separated offcuts. Sticking to this principle has made our products healthy thanks to their high meat (and therefore also protein) content. It has also made working with our foreign partners on product development very easy. For example, we have developed the popular ‘Fitlap.ee recommends’ range of barbecue and sliced-meat products. To ensure the best possible flavour we work with big names like chef Joel Ostrat and the BBQ Symphony collective of master-grillers, but also with food technology students, whose new ideas and genuine interest in their field have led to the development of some of our most popular products.
PRODUCTION AND EMPLOYEES
Our almost 30-year mission to enable people to buy meat products made in a natural and authentic way has required thousands of square metres of expansion in our production facilities and the recruitment of hundreds of motivated workers. All this we have done without ever compromising on the quality of our products or using mechanically separated meat, and maintaining a traditional approach to all of our recipes. The quality of Nõo’s products is guaranteed by our use of predominantly Estonian ingredients that undergo numerous checks, by our cutting-edge production facilities, by our dedicated employees and by us following best practice in production. As confirmation of all this, the company has been issued with an FSSC certificate. We consider building up and maintaining a unified team very important. We put our hearts into everything we do to bring you authentic, delicious, high-quality meat products. NATURALLY tasty. NATURALLY healthy. NATURALLY Nõo.
HISTORY OF NÕO MEAT FACTORY
Nõo Lihatööstus was founded on May 25, 1992 in the premises of the sausage workshop of the former Nõo collective farm. The first production was completed on August 1, 1992, and 100 kilos of Nõo roulade were produced daily. Soon the first store was opened in Tartu, they also traded in the markets.
PRODUCTION AREA DEVELOPMENT
The company was constantly improving its production facilities. From January 1994 to July 1995, almost 40% of production was exported to Russia, which necessitated the expansion of production space – the construction of a new product storage and delivery room. The construction work was completed in August 1995, but at the same time the Russian border was closed and the company had to plan a new sales strategy. An all-Estonian sales network was developed, the main focus of which was in Tallinn.
The first slaughterhouse was opened in Äksi, which allowed us to use our own raw material for meat products.
BIRTH OF “MEAT PRINCE”
On December 1, 1999, a new trademark “Lihavürst” was introduced, according to which Nõo is still known and valued. In the same year, a new slicing and packaging department for finished products, storage and dispensing premises were built and investments were made in new equipment, as a result of which the company received a new activity license from the Veterinary Board of the Republic.
NEW PRODUCTION BUILDING
The era of Nõo Meat Prince brought major changes in technology and a sharp increase in production volumes. In September 2002, Nõo Lihatööstus opened a new 1,000-square-meter production building, and together with the old part, the production area increased to 2,200 square meters. The total cost of the investment was 45 million Estionian kroons. A new packaging line costing 12 million kroons was acquired for the meat industry, which is one of the world’s top technologies and was initially the only one in Estonia. However, 10 million kroons were invested in the purchase of new smoke ovens and the only raw salami production chamber in Estonia. The completion of the new production building provided an opportunity to up the production volumes by half.
The five products of Nõo Lihatööstus – Nõo roulade, Nõo boiled sausages, Keelevorst, Timmu roulade, Vienna pocket – were judged worthy of the Estonian Taste Label by Estonian food experts.
ESTONIAN MEAT PROCESSORS ASSOCIATION
The Estonian Meat Processors Association (ELA) was established, which also includes Nõo Lihatööstus. The aim of the members of ELA is to raise the reputation of Estonian meat products, which is based on the quality of the product and the maximum content of natural meat in meat products. The use of Estonian meat in its products is also promoted and bone meat or MDM is not used as a raw material. ELA members add the Honest Goods brand to their products.
For the first time, the company’s annual turnover increased by more than 100 million kroons. Exports to Latvia started.
The extension of Nõo Lihatööstus was completed, which more than doubled the production building – to the current 2,400 m2, 3,017 m2 were added. In connection with this, Nõo Lihatööstus’ product portfolio also expanded – thanks to new technology, smoked sausages, salamis and snacks, which have become a favorite of many loyal customers, were added.
The company started exporting to Lithuania. Exports to Latvia account for 15% of total turnover.
NEW PRODUCTION FACILITY
The high demand once again led to a lack of space, which is why a new house was built in a very short time span. This provided an opportunity to further increase the production of smoked sausages and snacks. The company was awarded a food safety management system certificate in accordance with the ISO 22000: 2005 standard. The standard is globally accepted and valued and significantly helps to strengthen the company’s competitiveness in the international market.
PRODUCTION BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
Construction of a new, third-phase production building began, which cost 5 million euros.
INVESTMENT IN PRODUCTION
The company invests a total of 15 million euros in production buildings and equipment.
Today, Nõo Lihatööstus is Estonia’s largest and most innovative meat industry based on local capital, employing almost 200 people. The company’s assortment includes more than 400 meat products.
We are working towards being the most beloved meat producer in the Baltics.