Ricola is heavily export-oriented and generates around 90% of its total sales in more than 50 overseas markets. “Fiscal year 2014 was satisfactory on the whole and we are especially pleased with the results in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe and Asia, where we saw encouraging development,” explains Felix Richterich, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ricola, regarding last year’s performance. Ricola was even able to tap new markets in Latin America, including a highly promising entry into the Mexican market in particular. Together with the USA and Canada, the North America region is thus becoming increasingly important. “However, Europe is still the most important pillar for Ricola,” continues Felix Richterich. “Ricola is the market leader in many European markets and regularly stimulates the market with innovative products. We also see further opportunities for growth in our more mature European markets, such as the domestic Swiss market.”
In addition to last year’s efforts to further promote internationalization, the family-owned company also made a clear statement about Switzerland as a business location: with the opening of the new Kräuterzentrum in Laufen in June 2014, Ricola has now brought herb processing together under one roof at a central location. In collaboration with the architects Herzog & de Meuron and loam building specialists Lehm Ton Erde Baukunst, the largest loam building in Europe has been created, providing space for energy-efficient storage and processing facilities.
Group sales in 2014 amounted to CHF 315.9 million, representing an increase of CHF 2.7 million (2013: CHF 313.2 million) in absolute terms. The Swiss herb pioneer therefore achieved 0.9% growth in 2014 in relatively stable currency conditions.
Succeeding through innovation
Ricola was once again able to achieve the conditions for sustainable growth and further reinforcement of the brand in 2014 through a range of innovations. In North America, Ricola launched herb drops with a syrup center, which are marketed as “Dual Action.” At the same time, the range in Germany was expanded to include herb drops from the new “Extra Strength” product line with a syrup center. One particular innovation is the introduction of two sugar-free, tooth-friendly specialty drops containing a sweetener derived from the Stevia plant, which is also known as “sweetleaf.” “The sweetener obtained from the Stevia leaves perfectly underpins the naturalness of Ricola herb drops,” concludes Felix Richterich.
Outlook for 2015
Due to the currency situation, the current year will be an extremely challenging one for Ricola with its export share of around 90%. Expansion of the markets outside of Europe, namely in America and Asia, will be driven forward in order to cushion the currency risk with regard to the euro.
Ricola is one of the world’s most modern and innovative manufacturers of herb drops. Ricola herb specialties are exported to more than 50 countries and are famous for their fine Swiss quality. Founded in 1930, with company headquarters in Laufen and subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA, Ricola now produces around 60 different herb drops and tea specialties. Group sales amounted to CHF 315.9 million at the end of 2014.
In Switzerland, this family-owned company is a pioneer in herb cultivation and places great value on using carefully selected locations and controlled, environmentally friendly cultivation methods without the use of pesticides and herbicides. Ricola has concluded fixed long-term purchase agreements with more than 100 farmers in Swiss mountain regions.
Ricola is a responsible employer of more than 400 staff and is committed to sustainable corporate management: economically, socially and ecologically. The traditional values of a family-run enterprise coupled with Swiss quality and a passion for innovation are crucial factors in the success of the Ricola global brand.