The first success was seen by harnessing synergies between HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd and Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH. We have noted this success in the increase in turnover in the business area and the acquisition of new customers. We have been pleased by the joint marketing activities such as the thematic newsletters with good open rates and various specialist articles that have attracted international attention. HOCHDORF South Africa Ltd was launched in 2016 – somewhat late, but with good customer feedback.
Switzerland: HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd
The Cereals & Ingredients business area achieved gross sales revenue of CHF 10.0 million, which was significantly above the amount of CHF 8.8 million during this period in the previous year (+13.9%). We were able to utilise capacities at our plants very well thanks to some large orders. In Switzerland, for example, a well-known retail chain began to offer our VIOGERM® Wheatgerm in Linz cakes as an alternative to hazelnuts, while in Sweden our VIOGERM® Gold Grain has been included in granola bars.
There is growth potential in protein-rich snacks, which we already saw in 2015. The sale of our VIOGERM® High Protein Crisps for the production of high-protein food – breakfast cereals or protein bars, for example – is going very well, and we have been able to acquire more customers.
The snack market and demand for healthy snack products is still seeing strong growth. HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition has taken note of this trend. The Cereals & Ingredients team developed new super foods such as teff crisps or paleo crisps from chestnut flour this spring. The paleo crisps are focused on diets rich in protein and fibre, which our hunter and gatherer ancestors once enjoyed.
The Cereals & Ingredients team set an important milestone in the area of kids food. Our own products can be purchased at retail stores in Switzerland since June 2016. Additional special products for children are in the development and launch phase.
In the area of FEMTORP® Dessert Powder, our developers have been working tirelessly to launch another dessert mousse, a special edition, on the market this autumn in Sweden.
The outlook in the second half of the year will be defined by our turnover target of CHF 20 million. Despite the difficult market situation, we are maintaining this target and are well on the way to achieving it too.
Germany: Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH
Despite the difficult market environment, Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH had a good start to the first half of 2016, and we were able to meet the gross sales revenue target of CHF 3.7 million. This turnover result is proof that the changes in the internal sales organisation have been implemented successfully.
The quality of our products speaks for itself. Three Marbacher oils received the Superior Taste Award once again. Our cold-pressed, unroasted sesame oil and the organic safflower oil were distinguished with two stars. One star was received for the VIOGERM® Wheatgerm Oil.
To stay on a successful path in the area of vegetable oils, we are also investing in the training of employees. They took part in a sensor technology course in the area of edible oils at the Marbach location and received special product training. They increased their knowledge about oils in this way. Parallel to this, we also invested in new sales aids.
The sale of by-products that result from oil production is becoming increasingly important for Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH. We produce healthy flour from the press cakes resulting from the oil production. Some of these are free of gluten and lactose, and thus ideal for the production of vegan snacks. For example, sunflower seed flour has a conspicuously high protein share of 50% and is well suited for light baking mixtures and low-carb products. An interesting ingredient for the production of low-carb snacks is also linseed oil. It contains a high share of fibre and practically no carbohydrates that can be used for the body. The sale of flower has started well, and Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH can profit from customer contacts in the area of the baking industry and the expertise of HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd.
Unfortunately, we had to wait somewhat longer than planned for the construction license to expand the production halls. In the meantime, however, we have been able to start with the expansion, which is now moving along quite well. The new plants will commence operations in Q4 2016, according to the plans. In the second half of the year, however, we do not only want to expand our capacities – for example, in the area of wheat germ oil – but also clearly exceed the turnover in the previous year.
This autumn, in October, Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH and HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd will take part in the SIAL in Paris. The SIAL is one of the world's leading food trade fairs. The preparatory work will begin in a few weeks and demand much of the team's time.
HOCHDORF South Africa Ltd
With a slight delay, we generated the first turnover in May 2016. The sale of chocolate started satisfactorily, and we were able to open our factory shop at the beginning of June. The turnover generated is still very low, however.
We have set high standards for the quality of our chocolate. That is why we tested our chocolate extensively and gave it to potential customers for tasting before selling it. We received very good feedback. Besides providing chocolate for testing purposes, we also started our marketing measures. We have been active on Facebook, Twitter and naturally also on the internet. On 7 July, International Chocolate Day, we pointed out that Afrikoa is the first South African company to purchase its cocoa beans directly from the producer in Africa: We know our cocoa supplier personally!
And we are not only to be found in digital media, but rather also take part in trade fairs. For example, we will be at the Winelands Chocolate Festival on 20 and 21 August in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We are looking forward to this occasion.
We have not set a high turnover target for this first business year, since we want to make our chocolate popular and well-known in South Africa. Talks with potential customers have been going very well to date.