Raisio and Dr. Schär sign strategic alliance for collaboration in product development
08 Mar 2019 --- Raisio has signed an agreement to form a strategic alliance with Italian company Dr. Schär AG, a global food company specializing in gluten-free foods. Raisio is a forerunner in cholesterol-lowering functional foods and an expert in Finnish oats. According to the announcement, the combined expertise of the companies opens new commercial opportunities for both.The long-term framework agreement outlines the essential contents of the strategic alliance. The companies are exploring opportunities for extensive collaboration in product development and manufacturing.
The announcement comes at a time when oats are in the spotlight after a new initiative aimed at promoting oat consumption and boosting the export potential for high-quality oat products made by the Finnish food industry gets underway. As a nutritional, sustainable ingredient, oats and oat-based products hold significant global potential – and now thanks to the OatHow project, headway could be made to bring oats further to the fore.
Raisio is a Finnish company that makes cereal products, animal feeds and engages in life-sciences. The headquarters are located in Raisio, Finland. Finland is reportedly one of the world’s largest oats producers with oats consumption per capita around 7.3 kg. The health-promoting properties of this ingredient are well-known in the country and oats are applied to a diverse range of uses, particularly as a raw material for innovative food products.
Raisio and Dr. Schär note that this strategic alliance creates added-value for both companies. The collaboration also opens new opportunities for Raisio’s Benecol and Elovena brands, in Dr. Schär’s strongest markets, particularly in Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Oats are touted as being safe for those needing to follow a gluten-free diet.
“With its clear focus and high expertise in the markets of value-added products, Dr. Schär is an excellent partner for Raisio. Dr. Schär’s strong foothold in Europe complements Raisio’s geographical presence,” Raisio President and CEO Pekka Kuusniemi notes.
“The strategic alliance with Raisio is an important step for us as it will enable us to develop further and strengthen our distribution network. In addition, Raisio’s value brands will complete our portfolio and we will get access to Raisio’s excellence in oats. As a family-owned company, it is important for us to know that the companies share the same core values,” says Dr. Schär CEO Ulrich Ladurner.
Dr. Schär has been developing gluten-free products since 1922. Since 2014, it has expanded its area of activities by developing and commercializing products in the field of medical nutrition. The company has 1270 employees and ten production plants, with net sales amounting to €360 million (US$403.3 million) in 2018.
“We can see three major areas of interest and growth perspectives for our group,” Werner Strobl, Executive Director Sales & Marketing Europe & Export at Dr. Schär tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “By taking over the distribution for part of Raisio’s product range in some major European countries, we will be able to develop further and strengthen our local sales and marketing structure and also to add value to our relationship with our customers. The gluten-free oats business and Raisio’s strong experience on the raw material and agricultural side will enlarge and add to our current gluten-free product portfolio allowing us to reach new consumer groups and increase penetration. We also expect significant synergies and progress through the cooperation of our two highly professional and experienced R&D teams.”
The extensive experience in gluten-free oats from agriculture to the processing of the raw material will be one of the most valuable benefits out of the cooperation, according to Strobl. “Dr. Schär is continuously focusing on further developing and extending our market position and leadership. In doing so, we are constantly monitoring the market for new opportunities.”
“We do consider gluten-free oats exciting ingredients able to improve the nutritional quality of our recipes to the benefit of our worldwide consumers,” he adds. “While the gluten-free market in some of the European countries is currently stagnating for different reasons, the competitive landscape is still increasing. To further extend our overall market leadership, it is important to be one step ahead continuously. The cooperation with Raisio allows us to do so in terms of enforcing our distribution and of providing access to the value chain of gluten-free oats.”
In August 2018, FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister publication NutritionInsight reported that Raisio was targeting renewed growth for its international brand Benecol, with an increased focus on marketing products featuring the cholesterol-lowering plant stanol esters. The strategy included a €2 million (US$2.3 million) marketing investment in the brand during Q2 of 2018, and the opening of a new entity to serve the strong Irish market, as well as the launch of product innovations, including a new cereal bar line which also uses the ingredient.
In May 2018, Raisio published its interim report for the first quarter of 2018 stating net sales of €67.8 million (US$76 million) while comparable EBIT was €7.4 million (US$8.3 million), accounting for 10.9 percent of net sales. The company went through some group structure renewals, including two divestments in confectionery and cattle feeds business.
And in late 2017, Raisio agreed to sell its candy business to Valeo Foods, and signed an agreement to sell its cattle feed business to Lantmännen Agro Oy.
FoodIngredientsFirst has reached out to Raisio for further details.
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