Metos – more than a hundred years of know-how 

The history of Metos stretches back to 1922, when Metalliteos Oy was founded "to carry out all kinds of metal industry activities in the city of Helsinki". Two wars, changes of ownership, changes in the product range, a global pandemic and other challenges posed by the operating environment have added their own twists and turns to the history of Metos. Despite many challenges, the work started by the founders has led to the fact that Metos has grown, over the course of a hundred years, to become a top expert in professional kitchen equipment. 

Metos was one of the first to learn how to work with a revolutionary new material, stainless steel, and thus found its way into Finnish professional kitchens. The company's legal name has changed over the years, but the brand, Metos, shortened from Metalliteos, has established itself as the market leader and number one expert in the professional kitchen industry, and one of the largest European companies in the field.

Metos’ first big order was buttons for uniforms 

In its first years, the new company did quite a variety of metal work, such as belts for tennis players. Its first significant customer was the Finnish Defense Forces. The young independent state needed uniforms and durable buttons for its army. These army buttons with lion patterns were the first product that Metos' mass-produced. Metos also manufactured ski bindings and tent stoves for the defense forces. 

In the early days, Metos' product range was quite broad, and various types of equipment were made for hospitals, food factories, the chemical industry and the textile industry in addition to large kitchens. However, the unifying factor was the raw material.  
Photo Turun Museokeskus

Metos is a pioneer in the Finnish metal industry and the market leader in the professional kitchen industry

At the end of the 20th century, Metos was already making metal products from a new material, stainless steel. The skills necessary for handling this new and challenging material were learned in the United States and the Nordic countries. Since then, Metos has been a master of stainless steel. The ability to work with metal has been the company's core competence almost since the beginning, for a hundred years.

The first individual large pieces of kitchen equipment were manufactured at the end of the 1920’s: OTK's margarine factory received stainless steel tanks in 1929. The first Metos products that ended up in large kitchens were stainless steel table tops, and the first stainless professional kitchen kettles were made in 1931 for the Paimio sanatorium. 

Outside the professional kitchen industry, the most significant product made as series production was an electric sauna stove. The sauna stove tested in a lakeside sauna in Tuusula and delivered to SOK's regional office in Vaasa in 1938 is, as far as is known, the world's first factory-made electric stove. In the 1960s, sauna stoves were delivered to Japan and the United States. Their manufacture eventually ended in 1983.

Delivering large kitchen projects has been Metos' core competence since the 1930s. Alko's kitchen in Salmisaari is considered to be Metos’ first large-scale project that included all kitchen appliances. The kitchen was completed just before the outbreak of the winter war. 

At the end of the 1930s, there were around 300 large kitchens with stainless steel equipment in Finland. Oy Metalliteos was already the largest Finnish manufacturer in the field at that time. At the end of 1952, it was found that there were more than 2,000 kitchen appliances manufactured by Metos in large kitchens.

Since then, Metos' role as the market leader has been preserved and strengthened. 
A photo of the staff of President Urho Kekkonen's official residence in a Metos kitchen in Tamminiemi in 1956. Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency / UA Saarinen.
The Food Center of the City of Helsinki on Helsinginkatu in the beginning of the 1940s.  Foto Roos – Helsinki City Museum

Durable kettles from the beginning

In 1940, Metos manufactured equipment for the first Helsinki Olympics. The Olympics were canceled due to the Second World War, but the equipment was not left unused – instead, they got put into a real test. The kettles were taken into use by the city's food service, and they prepared 20,000 portions a day for their customers. The kettles were used for almost 40 years, and today, one of them has a place of honor in the Metos Center. The durability of the kettles is well described by the fact that the kettle in question was still in full working order whan placed in the Center. 
Today, Metos kettles are the best in the world. In addition to the fact that they are still extremely durable, they are constantly being developed, with new features that serve our customer base in just the right way. Our kettles have also received interest from other parts of the world. Our kettle-related solutions have been patented and conceptualized as a system that best serves our customers.

Milestones on the world's best kettle's journey across the world

In 2009, we delivered 16 Metos Proveno kettles to the canteen complex of the Workers Village in Abu Dhabi. They are used around the clock to prepare 120,000 meals a day for the thousands of construction workers housed in the area.

Our first delivery to Brazil took place in 2018 and was received by the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo. The kitchen, designed by Armando Pucci, the country's leading cook-chill consultant, was the first of its kind in the country. The Metos Proveno combi kettles and the Metos Dos 2 pump system gave the chef team the opportunity, to prepare food ergonomically in large batches and portion it into GN containers for cold storage for several weeks, reducing the amount of work and the need to rush.

China is by far our largest export country for kettles and frying pans. Among our countless references in this large export area, one of the most special is the hotel Hilton Shigatse in Tibet, located 3,800 meters above sea level, to which we delivered a set of Metos Viking kettles in 2021.

In 2021, Metos Manufacturing was already operating in more than 40 countries. In 2023, Metos Manufacturing changed its name to Metos Cooking Solutions. 

Photo Abu Dhabi Workers Village

Metos has grown into an expert serving all of Finland

Marks left by the war began to fade in the 1950s, and the momentum of optimism and reconstruction caught on at Metos as well. Since there were no experts available, the decision was made to train them ourselves. Metos hired housekeeping teachers as trainers and started designing kitchens. As kitchen design and other services developed, Metos had to take the role of an expert instead of just an equipment supplier. 

The 1960s was a time of strong growth within Finland, and at that time Metos was working on ways to better serve the needs of the whole of Finland. Regional sales offices were first established in Oulu, then in Turku, Tampere and Kuopio. 

The development of maintenance services was also chosen as a key development area, because as the kitchen equipment base grew, maintenance became an increasingly important part of the service package. Maintenance work had been done for just as long as equipment manufacturing, but when maintenance was separated into its own service unit, it became easier to allocate the necessary resources and develop operations. The current service network covering the whole of Finland was built in the 1990s, when Metos became the only professional kitchen business in the whole country that was able to offer its own maintenance network to its customers.

Photo Bjarne Ahlskog servicing the Metos Finnchef oven.
Photo: Grandeur of the Seas is one of the ships of the Royal Caribbean International shipping company. It was built at the Kvaerner Masa-Yards' docks in Hietalahti, Helsinki. The ship was commissioned in December 1996.

Forming a more international role in the 70s

In the early 70’s, Metos started to become a more international operator, as it expanded to Sweden by establishing its first foreign subsidiary, called Metos Storkök Ab. 

One area of growth was the marine industry, which expanded in the 80s, and many luxury cruisers built in Finland and around the world had Metos kitchen equipment installed. At the beginning of the decade, Metos' exports exceeded domestic sales for the first time.

Acquisitions as a booster of Metos' growth 

In 1959, Instrumentarium bought the majority of shares in Metos and the company became part of a conglomerate listed on the stock exchange.

In 1994, Metos, owned by Instrumentarium, and Hackman's professional kitchen unit merged and Hackman Metos Oy Ab was born. The majority of the company's shares were initially owned by Hackman. Instrumentarium initially remained a minority shareholder and gave up its ownership four years later, leaving the listed company Hackman Oyj as the sole owner of Metos.

At the end of the 1990s, Metos' strong growth phase and internationalization started. In 1998, eight acquisitions were recorded. In Finland, Metos bought Pakkaskone.

In 2002, Metos expanded its operations in Italy, where it bought several manufacturing units. In 2002–2003, Metos expanded its operations in Belgium and the Netherlands by buying companies focused on manufacturing and project deliveries. In 2004, the Italian Ali Group, which focuses on professional kitchen equipment, became interested in Metos and bought the entire stock of Hackman Oyj, which was listed on the stock exchange. This is how Hackman left the Helsinki Stock Exchange and Metos got a new owner once again. Hackman's consumer goods business under the Iittala brand was sold off and is today part of Fiskars Oyj.

Today, Metos continues to operate as an independent business unit of Ali Group. We have continuously improved and developed our own production in Kerava and Sorsakoski, and invested in product development. Thanks to our geographical coverage, we are able to serve our customers across national borders. 

Forerunner for a hundred years

Over the course of a hundred years, Metos has been a strong trendsetter in the Finnish market and has always responded quickly to what is happening elsewhere in Europe and the world in the catering sector. While actively moving the industry forward, Metos has made new solutions available to its customers, with which they have been able to develop their own operations and gain a competitive advantage. 

This is still our mission – we help professional kitchens succeed. 

Over the years, Metos has been able to anticipate changes in the operating environment and industry and react to them, whether it was about new innovations, new growth and industry trends, new target groups or new customer needs. As restaurants in Finland begun to grow, the company hired restaurant experts for both planning and sales. As in-store kitchens arrived to Finland, Metos was been closely involved in their development. When new experts were needed in the field, a special vocational school was established at Metos. Innovations have always been strongly linked to Metos' operations: the first microwave ovens manufactured in Finland and the world's first factory-made electric sauna stove have seen the light of day inside Metos' walls. 

Innovation and pioneering are still strongly present in our operations.

Did you know that…? 

• The founder of Metos, Aare Leikola, was a bit of an inventor – he had several patents. One was awarded in 1933 for a machine for washing and disinfecting sputum cups, which were manufactured by Metos when tuberculosis was raging in Finland. 

• The sauna stove has been Metos' most successful consumer product, and Metos was the world's first factory-made electric sauna stove manufacturer. The product range was called Metos Sisu.

• Metos' first mass order product was the lion-decorated buttons of the Finnish Defense Forces.

• Metos manufactured Finland's first microwave oven, Metos Micronic, in 1965.

• One of the most unusual Metos products was the Delfin water bicycle. 

• Over the years, Metos has also manufactured consumer products. In your grandparents' attic, you might find, for example, durable Metos-brand penny banks.

• Many uses have been found for leftover pieces of stainless steel. One of the best products was an ashtray, which also made it to the order list of the defense force.

• Our pressure steamers are in use even in Antarctica.
Finlandia katsaus 474 Suomi-Filmi Oy, The National Audiovisual Institute’s archives