After a dynamic start to 2020 with high sales in the first quarter, the global impact of the Corona pandemic also presented Ricola with major challenges. From April 2020, the restrictions and reduced mobility of individuals in many countries impacted the business. The hygiene measures introduced worldwide also resulted in a significant decline in influenza and cold illnesses leading to a reduction in demand. After a brief recovery in the summer, the second waves of the pandemic that began in the fall with new lockdowns affected again the business in Europe and North America. However, Ricola generated a satisfactory result in 2020 under the given circumstances.
In 2020, Ricola succeeded in further strengthening its position in Switzerland, its home market, and in various foreign markets – notably in Western Europe and North America – and in increasing its market share. Due to the pandemic-related restrictions, development in the emerging markets in the Asian region was slowed down. Ricola will further intensify its efforts in the future to assert its position in Asia.
For the second time after 2016, consumers voted Ricola the most trusted brand in Switzerland, a recognition of the company's many years of continuous work. In 2020, the company was also awarded the seal 'Höchstes Vertrauen' (highest trust) in the important German market.
The business of functional herbal drops is increasingly shifting from points of sale to online platforms; a development that received an additional boost as a result of the pandemic. Ricola has anticipated this shift and significantly expanded its e-commerce presence, particularly in North America and Asia.
The launches of Ricola Active-Free Lemon and Ricola GreenTea-Lime were successful. Ricola Active-Free drops with their cooling menthol taste support the company's position in the field of functional herbal drops. They are very popular with consumers in Germany, France and other Western European markets. Ricola GreenTea-Lime is selling particularly well in France. The drops with natural green tea extract and a dash of sweet and sour lime give consumers a refresh. In Switzerland, Ricola Echinacea Honey and Ricola Sage Honey have been successfully established on the market.
Progress in sustainability
In 2020, Ricola further developed its innovation and sustainability strategy. For numerous products, the company eliminated the use of aluminum foil in the sachet packaging. In production, waste and the consumption of natural resources was further reduced. Through a new Code of Conduct, Ricola includes the entire supply chain in its sustainability efforts.
Outlook 2021: Emerging from the crisis stronger and dynamic
As large parts of the world continue to experience restrictions on daily life, Ricola's start to 2021 has also been subdued. Business will remain challenging in the first half of 2021, and a recovery in sales is not expected until the second half of the year at the earliest. However, thanks to proactive actions and efficiency improvements implemented in 2020, the company is well positioned and will emerge from this crisis stronger and dynamic.
Starting in fall of 2021, Ricola will implement new advertising campaigns worldwide aimed to anchor the Ricola brand even more firmly in consumers' everyday lives and also to appeal to younger target groups. A refreshed packaging design for the core product range will increasingly highlight Ricola's key competence – the production of delicious products with naturally healthy Swiss alpine herbs. In addition, new product varieties will be introduced worldwide, which will further strengthen the leading market positions of Ricola herbal drops worldwide.