Raisio, which operates the Benecol brand, posted a 3.5% increase in net sales in its financial year 2019, to €236.3 million, despite a fourth quarter weighed with uncertainty in its UK business.
The Finnish business posted a 2.0% decrease in the fourth quarter due to what it described as 'the escalation of uncertainty that continued on the British market throughout the year up until the confirmation of the UK general election results'.
Following the election, however, there was a 'positive upturn' in UK consumer confidence, the business said, which in turn lifted demand for Benecol products.
For the full year, Raisio's Healthy Food segment posted net sales of €137.5 million, down marginally on the €137.7 million it reported a year earlier.
Its Healthy Ingredients segment, meanwhile, saw net sales of €124.6 million, up 6.8% on the previous year (€116.6 million).
"The year 2019 was the first year of Raisio’s new, focused direction as a company providing healthy, plant-based foods and ingredients," commented Raisio president and chief executive Pekka Kuusniemi.
"In terms of the long-term development of our activities, we have made good progress in several different areas. Promising steps have been taken to reinforce our value-based activities, to advance in our responsibility programme and to significantly improve occupational safety at our production facilities."
Commenting on the UK market specifically, Kuusniemi added that the uncertain political situation in the UK "threw a shadow" on the business' Healthy Food segment for the entire year.
"As a whole, however, the profitability of the segment improved, but the impact of the price increases on the volume was reflected negatively, particularly in our most competitive product categories," he said.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.