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Consumer brands, Northern Europe

Raisio develops, sells and markets healthy and ecological foods in the Northern European markets where the largest single market is Finland. The most important consumer brands are Elovena, Benecol, Provena and Sunnuntai. Raisio is also a major raw material supplier for the HoReCa sector and for the food and bakery industry in Finland.

Main events in 2013

  • In the Northern European operations, the company carried out an enhancement programme that started at the end of 2012. The purpose was to improve competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and to renew the product portfolio.
  • Sales growth in cholesterol-lowering Benecol products and healthy Elovena breakfast and snack products continued strong in Finland.
  • As the product portfolio was renewed, several dozen of small and low-margin products were removed from the range.
  • Raisio sold its non-dairy business to Norwegian Kavli AS in the spring.
  • In Sweden and the Baltic Countries, Raisio moved into an effective distributor model.
  • Profitability of the operations improved significantly due to the measures taken.

Operating environment

In Raisio's Northern European operating region, operating environment continued challenging in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. In daily consumer goods markets, the competitive situation remained tight in Raisio's product groups.

Year 2013

Sales in Raisio's major consumer brands, Elovena, Benecol, Provena and Sunnuntai, increased due to growing consumer demand and targeted sales and marketing activities. Sales decreased in conventional, low-margin grain products as a result of the product portfolio renewal.

Increased sales in Elovena and Benecol products

Total sales in Elovena products increased from 2012. Sales increased particularly in Elovena instant porridges, snack biscuits and drinks. Elovena was awarded as the Brand Builder of the Year in September 2013 by the Association of Finnish Advertisers.

Sales continued to grow in cholesterol-lowering Benecol margarines and minidrinks. Benecol blueberry minidrink, launched in September, established its position in the product series, which showed total sales growth of almost 50%.

Gluten-free products form a small, but strongly growing product category. Celiac-friendly and low-gluten diet is clearly on the increase in many Raisio's markets. This consumer trend strongly supported the growth of Raisio's gluten-free Provena pure oat products. Oat & Muesli rolls, a Provena product was awarded for the Best Product of the Year by the Finnish Coeliac Society in May 2013.

Improved performance enables future growth

Grocery trade sales declined from 2012 due to the ended cooperation in the distribution of Bunge's margarines at late 2012, divestment of non-dairy business in May 2013 and product discontinuations resulting from the portfolio renewal. At the same time, Northern European operations showed higher sales in major consumer brands whose share of total sales increased. Profitability of the operations also improved significantly.

Extremely intense price competition continued in HoReCa as well as in industrial and bakery sales. Sales were down on the previous year as Raisio withdrew from low-profit agreements. Cost savings programme carried out in the last quarter of 2013 led to improved price competitiveness, which in turn increased the order intake.

In Sweden and the Baltic Countries, Raisio started to use a distributor model instead of its own organisation. Use of a local distributor allows for cost-effective operations.

Main target for 2013 in Raisio's Northern European operations was a turnaround that creates a strong foundation for future growth. As a result of the enhancement programme, our operating conditions and business profitability improved significantly.