The history of Semper
It all started with Ninni Kronberg inventing a way to dry milk in the 1930s. Milk was in abundance and by drying it into powder one could make better use of nature’s resources.
The invention was considered by the Ministry of Agriculture as so important that it was rewarded with state aid, on the condition that a Swedish company was formed to actualize the invention. The Swedish entrepreneur Axel Wenner-Gren believed in the idea and founded Svenska Mjölkprodukter AB in 1939, that would later become Semper. Our first milk powder factory was in Kimstad, Östergötland.
During the war milk powder became large in Sweden. Semper grew and in 1942, in the middle of World War II, a new factory was built in Götene. Baked goods and gruel were developed at the factory, and in 1948 BabySemp was launched – the world’s first industrially produced infant formula was born! The products were manufactured in collaboration with researchers, and Semper established itself as a researcher-friendly and innovative company.
The years that followed the war became difficult for Semper. Milk powder was no longer a sought-after item. On the contrary, it was in abundance throughout Europe, and now Semper had to look for new business areas. Together with the grain mill industry, we therefore tested whether milk powder could be added directly to the flour. That way, one could sell semi-finished products to the bakery industry and growth began to happen again.
Gruel and infant formula were gradually made available in most stores, but Semper also wanted to offer real meals specifically developed for small children. The Felix cannery therefore became a new partner, and the first baby food glass rolled out from the factory in Eslöv in 1960. Another important year is 1971, when Mjölkcentralen (which becomes Arla in 1975) takes over Semper.
Between 1960 and 1990 a lot of changes are taking place within Semper. Everything from blue cheese to Pucko, Ögonkakao to toys is included in the range – but baby food is still the core. With the purchase of Juvela’s gluten-free range in 1990, Semper introduces gluten-free products.
At the beginning of 2000, Semper rethinks its company and finds focus, and the focus was on being the Nordic region’s leading food company within baby food and gluten-free products, as well as Northern Europe’s leading pancake supplier. In 2006, Semper was acquired by the international food company Hero and during the same period, Semper’s business areas expanded baby food and gluten-free products to Norway, Denmark, and Finland.
The pancakes are no longer in the range, but Semper has achieved its vision of being the leading player in baby food and gluten-free products. In addition, in 2015 Semper was chosen as the Food Exporter of the Year in Sweden.