Ebro Foods has reported a 36% jump in annual profit, with its rice and pasta products particularly popular as coronavirus restrictions forced people to eat more at home.
The owner of brands such as Tilda rice in Britain, Garofalo in Italy and Panzani in France, said that its sales increased 15% in 2020 to €3.24 billion in an 'exceptional' year. That resulted in an annual net profit of €192 million.
The company, which says it is the world's second-biggest vendor of packaged rice, had to rearrange its production last year to meet unusually high peaks in demand for rice and pasta.
Tilda, in its first full year in the group, 'surpassed all expectations,' the group noted.
It cautioned that 2021 would be a difficult year but that it should be able to weather the challenges.
Ebro said it expects higher costs from more expensive raw materials and freight fees, as well as lower demand from consumers whose earnings have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
'We are braced for a foreseeably complicated 2021, owing to uncertainty regarding the evolution of the pandemic, high inflation in freight and commodities, impoverished consumers fatigued by the seemingly unending health crisis, pressure from distribution, the return of promotions and reactivation of competition,' it said.
The company also expects pressure on prices from supermarkets, saying renewed competition will lead to price wars.