“Multi-Active" and "Active-Free" are two trend-setting functional innovations that Ricola launched in 2019. The "Multi-Active" line of herb drops in three flavours – consisting of a hard coating and a liquid, cooling syrup centre – was immediately well received in Switzerland. In Germany and Italy, the company successfully launched its new "Active-Free" line combining the Ricola mixture of 13 herbs from the Swiss mountains with an extra portion of menthol. After their relaunch, Ricola herbal teas are also enjoying increasing popularity in Switzerland. The basis of Ricola's business worldwide remains the popular and well-known classics such as the Original Natural Herb drops and Lemon Mint with lemon balm.
Successful in Switzerland and in foreign markets
Ricola's positive business performance in 2019 was driven in particular by an above-average growth in the USA and Canada, where the company significantly increased its market share. Ricola also reported encouraging business and market share growth in Switzerland, France and Italy.
Together with the two international confectionery companies Perfetti van Melle and Fisherman's Friend, Ricola has participated in the CFP Brands distribution joint venture in Germany since January 2019. This joint venture bundles strong and innovative brands under one roof and markets them jointly in Germany. As planned, Ricola thus succeeded in expanding its presence in this important market. Despite a good performance in the previous year, further efforts are needed in the emerging Asian markets to assert the company in the Far East.
On May 1, 2019, after 27 years, Felix Richterich handed over the operational management of Ricola to Thomas P. Meier and has since been concentrating on his strategic role as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The new CEO Thomas P. Meier has already set important signals for Ricola. In addition to sharpening the corporate strategy, he brought the organisation closer to the markets and redefined the brand message. “I am committed to continue the business of this traditional company according to its strong values. With creative ideas and innovative developments we also want to ensure that Ricola will grow globally also in the future", says Thomas P. Meier. To this end, the company created new jobs in 2019, invested in its production facilities in Laufen and ensured further optimisation of its operations. The new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system SAP S/4HANA was introduced in the Swiss facilities without major complications.
Outlook for 2020: Focus on safety and delivery performance
After a good start in the first three months of 2020, the corona crisis presents also Ricola with considerable challenges. The company is focusing on the protection of its employees and the maintenance of its operations. "I am convinced that, thanks to our excellent people, our brand strength and our high-quality products, we will weather the storm of this crisis well and emerge from it even stronger. We hope to be operating in a stable environment again from 2021”, says Thomas P. Meier.