Raisio's Benecol business consists of two parts: sales and marketing of consumer products, and licensing and partner cooperation in Benecol product ingredient, plant stanol ester. Benecol products are available in some 30 countries. In 2015, Benecol had its 20th anniversary.
Main events in 2015
- Benecol products were launched in China and South Korea.
- Strong organic growth in the UK at the end of the year; growth expected to continue.
- Benecol consumer product business acquired in the UK, Ireland and Belgium late 2014 was integrated to Raisio as planned.
- In Poland, profitability improved due to streamlining efforts completed.
- In Finland, sales in Benecol spreads increased.
- In the USA, Olivio started as Raisio's licensing partner with Benecol spread late 2015.
2015 net sales for the Benecol business totalled EUR 140.3 million (EUR 62.3 million in 2014). Net sales and EBIT improved significantly through the consumer product business acquisition in the UK, Ireland and Belgium completed in November 2014.
The UK, the largest Benecol product market, showed increased sales in the last quarter of 2015 after the weak third quarter. Organic growth is expected to continue. Sales were down from the comparison year in Ireland and Belgium. In Poland, business profitability improved while net sales decreased. Sales in plant stanol ester, the Benecol product ingredient, remained at the comparison year level.
Most of Benecol's net sales are generated in Europe. In 2015, the share of Asia and South America in Benecol's net sales was still low, but rising.
Raisio's Benecol business consists of two parts: sales and marketing of consumer products, and licensing and partner cooperation in the Benecol product ingredient, plant stanol ester. Markets for the Benecol product ingredient are global.
Home markets for Raisio's Benecol consumer products included the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Portugal and Hong Kong in 2015. At the beginning of 2016, a new licensing partner started in Portugal, which no longer is Raisio's home market.
In recent years, the category of cholesterol-lowering functional foods has expanded particularly in Asia, where Raisio together with its partners has succeeded to open new markets. In many Asian markets, Benecol has been the first to create the category. A good example of this is Indonesia, where Benecol products were launched already in 2008. In 2015, Benecol products were launched in South Korea and China.
In 2015, Portugal was part of Raisio's home market
In the last quarter of 2015, Raisio carried out its first post-acquisition TV campaign designed on the company's own terms. The other campaigns designed and carried out by Raisio were also successful and strengthened the company's position in its home markets.
The UK is still by far the largest market for Benecol products. The integration of Benecol business acquired in 2014 as part of Raisio was completed according to plan. In the UK, retailers tightened their selection criteria, which intensified competition and further emphasized the importance of promotions. Benecol performed well in changing market conditions. In the UK, sales increased in Benecol yoghurt drinks and spreads.
Growth in the UK
In Poland, Raisio withdrew from retailers' unprofitable promotions and improved its cost-effectiveness. These measures resulted in clearly improved profitability and decreased sales. Distribution of Benecol spreads expanded thanks to new customers. Sales in Benecol Max spread launched at the end of 2015 had a good start. Poland is the second largest market for Benecol products.
In Finland, sales in Benecol products increased by some 10 per cent. Most of sales growth was generated by the Benecol buttery spread launched at the beginning of 2015. Price competition further intensified also in Finland.
Performances of Raisio's Benecol partners varied greatly in different markets. Sales of Benecol products showed strong growth in Switzerland whereas in Spain and Greece, markets remained challenging. Benecol products sales increased particularly well in Indonesia. Growth was also seen in Chile and Columbia. In 2015, Benecol products were launched in China and South Korea. At the end of 2015, Olivio started as Raisio's new partner in the USA with the Benecol spread.
In 2015, Raisio built a strong foundation for the future success of its Benecol business. Benecol brand's good position in Raisio's home markets, licensing business investments and the company's ability to develop the product range on its own terms are factors enabling growth.