Finnish ag-ingredients-branded foods player Raisio has turned in its best ever quarter and said a focus on emerging markets is driving ongoing sales growth in the sluggish plant stanol, cholesterol reduction category.
In its 2013 first half report that saw it win €11m in EBIT profit on €148.6m turnover, Raisio said the Benecol end-product’s best growth was coming from Chile, Ecuador and Indonesia. Half year revenues were €276.9m with EBIT of €19m across the firm's portfolio of raw materials, ingredients and food products.
While not releasing specific numbers for EU health claim-backed Benecol, Raisio said EU sales increased compared to H1 2012, although issues remained in Poland.
“Intensified competition in one of the largest Benecol countries, Poland, reduced the sales development in Benecol margarines. Raisio took over the sale of Benecol margarines in February-March. We believe that the situation will level off as a result of our own marketing activities.”
An Asian and latin American focus announced several years ago was starting to pay off. “In sales of Benecol products, the share of emerging markets of Asia and South America is still low, but our partners' activity and investments are shown in good sales growth.”
“Raisio will actively continue its efforts to launch Benecol products into new markets, especially in Asia.”
According to Euromonitor, Raisio's strongest EU markets in terms of the sterol-stanol product market share are Poland (63.9% yoghurt; 66% oils and fats), the UK (76.6% yoghurt; 28.4% oils and fats) and Finland (30.2% yoghurt; 21.1% oils and fats ).
Euromonitor puts the global market for these kinds of products at about €2.45bn with Unilever’s pro.activ brand and Raisio’s Benecol brands the runaway leaders. Raisio engages in brand licensing to others like McNeil Nutritionals while pro.activ appears under Unilever brands like Flora and Becel in different countries.
For the Pro.activ brand alone, Euromonitor noted that between 2007 and 2012, spreads had increased in sales from €309m to €394m. Its yoghurt-based products fared less well, sliding from €124m to €104m. Overall the range was worth about €500 in 2012.
“We expect the brand to continue to grow in oils and fats in 2013 by approximately €15m but sales in yoghurts will continue to see a negative growth of about €2.2m,” the market analyst observed.