The Cereals & Ingredients Division posted gross sales revenue of CHF 18.0 m which matched the figure from the previous year (PY: 17.9 m). The revenue of HOCHDORF Deutschland GmbH is included in both years. This company is in the process of being wound up, and its business activities were shut down as from the middle of 2015. The products are now being sold by the sales force of Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH.
The product volume sold fell slightly to 3,681 tonnes (PY: 3,733 tonnes; (-1.4%). The streamlining of the product range carried out in the 2014 financial year is therefore having an effect. The established sales and distribution structures also proved a success. We were able to conduct successful product developments with many new customers in 2015, and relaunch numerous products with our ingredients. For example, our new VIOGERM® High Protein Crisps are now to be found in globally available bars made by a leading cereal producer. And burgers with VIOGERM® wheat germ were on offer in Switzerland's largest fast food chain. The VIOGERM® wheat germ oil won an award at the Superior Taste Awards, and has been used in several clean label margarines in Germany thanks to its outstanding properties. Manufacturers of sports nutritional products are opting for VIOGERM® in order to boost the protein content of their products.
Our development department also looked at VIOGERM® applications for use in chocolate spreads. Here VIOGERM® replaces the expensive, high-fat hazelnuts or almonds. The taste and smoothness of the chocolate spread are in no way impaired, but in return the fat content is considerably reduced.
As well as customer projects, product development focussed on refinements in the area of desserts and pastries. Another important subject was the development of a kid's food range. Besides pure product development, the brand identity was developed and distribution partners evaluated.
In our marketing support, we focussed on three areas: articles in the trade press, newsletters, and the FiE Fair (Food Ingredients Europe). Our regular newsletters keep our customers up to date on new products and product applications. Our numerous trade articles were also successful and were printed in German- and English-speaking territories. In this fashion we are able to pass on our technical knowledge and draw attention to ourselves. At the beginning of December, we took part in the FiE Fair. We shared a stand with Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH, the Dairy Ingredients Division of HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition AG, as well as Uckermärker Milch GmbH.
In the current financial year, we are concentrating on developing the VIOGERM® business further and on the launch of the first kid's food products. The first products are to be launched in various markets in spring 2016. After years when revenue fell and then stabilised in 2015, we are planning to increase it in 2016 to around CHF 20 m. We want to achieve this goal through our own sales efforts and by strengthening our good working relationships with our distribution partners. On the marketing side in 2016, we will continue to rely on newsletters, articles for the trade, and exhibiting at fairs. In 2016, we intend to exhibit at Biofach, the world's leading fair for organic foods, and at SIAL in Paris, the world's largest food innovation fair.
In 2015, Marbacher Ölmühle posted gross sales revenue of CHF 6.8 m. We cannot be entirely happy with this result. We are happy with the status of its integration into the HOCHDORF Group. Numerous synergy effects have already been exploited on the sales side.
As far as sales are concerned, Marbacher Ölmühle is pursuing forward and also backward integration. Wherever possible and where it makes sense, a conscious decision is taken not to use distributors. In terms of marketing activities, the logo, sales material and the online presentation were all redesigned.
We enjoyed success when our sesame oil and VIOGERM® wheat germ oil won prizes at the international Superior Taste Awards. At the end of 2015, we also achieved certification to ISO 22000:2005 for the production of cold pressed and refined vegetable oils and press cakes.
We will adjust our organisation in purchasing and sales in 2016. As part of our marketing activities, we will exhibit at Biofach in Nürnberg as well as SIAL in Paris together with our Swiss colleagues. We will also draw attention to our healthy organic oils by means of newsletters and articles in the trade press. We want to diversify the knowledge existing in the company by means of employee seminars, and thereby to make our services for our customers more professional.
On the production side, we will start with the expansion of our production facilities in the first quarter. This expansion will permit significantly higher production volumes and may be seen as a milestone. The new plants are to be commissioned in the second half of 2016.
The company, which was established in May 2015, spent its first year organising the necessary production equipment, the raw materials, staff and market profile. The cocoa beans, for example, will be procured directly from two farms in East Africa. The chocolate will be marketed exclusively in Africa under the brand name Afrikoa. Afrikoa is the first African «bean-to-bar» chocolate for which the cocoa beans are also procured directly in Africa. The first market surveys showed great potential and great interest both from business customers and consumers.
As planned, the micro production plant was installed and tested in the last few weeks of 2015. No products were sold, however, in the 2015 financial year.
We are expecting production and sales of the first products in February 2016. The quality of the chocolate manufactured is excellent, and consumers will be able to buy it in our own factory outlet. If the assumptions made in the business plan are confirmed, we will invest in a larger production plant in the current financial year.
The Cereals & Ingredients Division wants to defend its position in the area of gently pressed VIOGERM® wheat germ products in Switzerland. Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH is banking primarily on organic vegetable oils and press cakes from organic seeds. We demand high quality when it comes to raw materials, and we therefore work closely with raw materials suppliers in order to guarantee maximum traceability. HOCHDORF South Africa Ltd develops, produces and sells high-quality chocolate to business customers and consumers in and for Africa. On the product side, the Cereals & Ingredients Division is organising the entry into the kid's food area.
Food Ingredients (VIOGERM® wheat germ as well as crispy cereals – crisps), wellness products (gently press wheat germ oil, food supplements – capsules and tablets), tonics, instant dessert products (mousse and glace powder) and cold pressed vegetable oils from predominantly organic cultivation.