Realignment: Wolf sets ambitious goals

Wolf sets ambitious goals

Investment: Wolf has automated heavily and installed new packaging machines.
Investment: Wolf has automated heavily and installed new packaging machines.

GERMANY, Schwandorf. With sales of €320 mill. the Wolf Group is number three in the German meat products industry. The family-owned company wants to defend this position and set itself apart from the competition. The themes of regionality, barbecue and convenience are to contribute to this. Veggie and organic are on top.

„By 2025, we're aiming for € 400 mill. in sales. Then I'll be 55 and the goal is to reach half a billion by the time I retire. This can be achieved not only with our own growth, but also with one or two acquisitions. “
CEO Christian Wolf
Four years before its centenary, the Wolf group of companies from Schwandorf is realigning itself. "We will continue to develop from a pure sausage and meat specialties producer into a genuine food manufacturer," says Christian Wolf, who has been managing the family business in the fourth generation since 1999. Linked to the realignment are ambitious growth targets. By the time he retires, Wolf, soon to be 51, is aiming for €500 mill.  annual sales: "That's not only possible with our own growth, but also with one or two acquisitions."

Investments support the goals

Wolf is putting money into organic growth. Around €13 mill. is being invested at the Nuremberg site to expand production capacity for the Forster brand's convenience division. The facilities are scheduled to go into operation in winter 2022. The new plant will produce a diverse range of menu components, such as side dishes and sauces for the food service industry, and ready meals and single menus for quick cooking at home. The new building will double the capacity of single-menu production. "Their sales have really exploded during the pandemic. The biggest markets are Switzerland, Austria and Benelux. Prices are also significantly higher here," says Wolf.

The new product brand "Forster Mein Menügenuss" is one of the three pillars on which the new umbrella brand "Wolf Echter Essgenuss" will stand as part of the realignment. Other brands include "Wolf Echt gute Wurst" for sausage and meat specialties and "Wolf Echt Veggie!" for all vegetarian alternatives.

Veggie product development is key

Wolf produces a wide range of meat products with 1,600 employees at four locations in Bavaria and Thuringia. A veggie range will be a new addition. Wolf: "We have been observing the market for a long time. In the meantime, it is so big that we can place ourselves there. In Schwandorf and Nuremberg, the company is creating space for separate veggie production.

Product development is in full swing. Vegetables will become an essential part of the recipe. Leeks, celery, carrots and peppers are expected to bring natural flavor and color and ensure a short ingredient list. "In the next barbecue season, we will bring some items. Vegetarian and vegan sausages and marinated patties are planned. There is a lot of interest in the trade," Wolf said.

However, he says the company's focus remains on its regional specialties and barbecue products. Referring to the GfK Consumer Panel, Wolf calls itself the market-leading manufacturer brand for Berner sausages, Gelbwurst cold cuts and Original Thüringer Rostbratwurst, for sausage salads and in the bratwurst category. "For specialties from Thuringia and Franconia, we were able to convert many private label listings to the brand. The brand share has risen sharply," Wolf said.

Many of the classics are also available in organic quality: "Really large quantities are going here. In some categories, the organic share is already at 30 percent. However, the market is tight. The supply of raw materials is difficult, and prices are rising significantly." With the veggie and organic offerings, Wolf is aiming for a ten to 15% share of sales. In view of the measures taken, Christian Wolf is convinced of the success of the realignment: "We have positioned ourselves for the future for the next five to ten years."

Source: Dirk Lenders,


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