GERMANY, Bad Zwischenahn. After the best business result in the company's history (14.7% sales increase over the previous year, closing date: December 31, 2019), Rügenwalder Mühle continues its growth in the first half of 2020.
Among the meat-free alternatives, the Bad Zwischenahn-based company achieved growth of up to 100% and holds by far the top position in this segment. At the same time, sales of the classic product range were only moderately affected by developments and incidents on the market as a whole. The company therefore increased its total sales by 12.7% compared to the same period of the previous year. "We are experiencing turbulent times - both within and outside the industry. We are all the more pleased that we can continue our successful course of 2019 this year," said Michael Hähnel, Chairman of the Executive Board of Rügenwalder Mühle.
According to Information Resources GmbH (IRI), the market for vegetarian and vegan alternatives grew again in the first half of this year. At the same time, the awareness of food increased significantly in connection with the corona pandemic and related issues. This is shown in the Nutrition Report 2020 of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Rügenwalder Mühle also benefited from this development as a brand manufacturer and company in the market for meat alternatives.
In the first half of the year, its sales of meat-free products rose by a total of 50%. The monthly growth rates reached values of up to 100%. The convenience segment in particular was in demand by consumers, and generated sales increases of more than 300% for corresponding articles. "We are striving for further long-term growth. Our classic products are our mainstay - veggie is our offensive subdivision," Hähnel explains.
In the first half of 2020, measures were already taken to this end. For example, Rügenwalder will be growing its own soy in Germany with a contractual partner from this spring. After the harvest in September it will be refined and will be used in vegetarian and vegan products. If the pilot project is successful, the processor plans to cover ten percent of its requirements with domestic soy as early as 2021 and to gradually increase the proportion over the next few years.
To meet the increased demand for vegetarian alternatives, Rügenwalder Mühle will also expand its production capacities this year. To this end, the number of employees has been increased by eleven percent since the beginning of the year. The company invested € 5.5 mill. in the first half of 2020.
The third building block of the growth strategy for Lower Saxony is the expansion and development of additional consumer touch points: Since February, meat alternatives with the red mill can also be found on self-service meat shelves and in self-service meat chests.