The HUG bakery products group in Malters/Lucerne is entering its 140th anniversary year with the wind in its sails. In the 2016 financial year, the group recorded an increase in turnover of 3.2% to 113.5 million francs. This good result was mainly due to the growth of the Wernli and DAR-VIDA brands, as well as to the positive Swiss consumer development in the areas of biscuits and crackers. The tonnage produced in Switzerland therefore rose slightly to 8,800 tonnes. Export turnover also increased thanks to brand products, despite customer losses due to the revaluation of the Swiss franc in 2015. HUG is looking ahead to the 2017 financial year with optimism, thanks to 100% compliance with the new “Swissness” legislation and further investments in Switzerland as a business location.
“Today we are looking back not only over a positive year in 2016, but over a successful 140 years of family history”, explains Werner Hug, President of the Board of Directors of HUG AG, during today’s media conference at Bourbaki Panorama in Lucerne. The positive business performance recorded by the HUG family, with an increase in turnover of 3.2% to CHF 113.5 million, was achieved in the same historic place where master baker Joseph Hug opened his bakery in 1877 and where the first HUG product – the zwieback, twice-baked bread – was created. “The HUG family business is still run by members of the 4th and 5th generations”, comments Werner Hug. A total of 336 people are employed in Malters, Willisau and Trimbach, 5 fewer than in the previous year.
100 percent Swissness for all HUG brands
At the end of 2015, an extremely bureaucratic Swissness law backed by farmer and consumer protection organisations was adopted by the Swiss parliament. The detailed provisions were not approved by the Federal Council until November 2016, and had to be implemented almost immediately on 1 January 2017. “The bill is bordering on coercion of the food industry by politicians and authorities”, says Andreas Hug. HUG nonetheless succeeded in obtaining the Swissness label as of 1 January 2017 for all the brand products it manufactures, some of which benefited from the exception rule.
20 million francs invested in Switzerland as a business location
The 20 million francs of investments announced in automation and capacity increases will be completed in spring 2017. Further investments to strengthen Switzerland as a business location are already in the pipeline. Setting up its own production facilities abroad is not on the agenda for HUG. “We are concentrating on ongoing productivity gains in Switzerland”, states Andreas Hug, Managing Director of HUG AG in Malters.
Wernli increases market share in Switzerland
The relaunch of the Wernli brand with a new slogan “de Wernli teilt me gernli” met with great success. Turnover and tonnage experienced a substantial increase, and market share in Switzerland rose as a result. In terms of exports, Wernli is focussing on the Middle and Far East, where steady growth is being registered. Special efforts are also being made with regard to convenience packaging for the growing “on-the-go” consumption abroad.
The DAR-VIDA brand, which has been posting healthy growth for several years, enjoyed a further increase in the areas of biscuits and crackers thanks to higher spending among Swiss consumers.
Constant growth in sight both in Switzerland and abroad
“As in the past, we are maintaining the strategy defined in 2012 and placing the emphasis firmly on our own brands”, states Werner Hug, looking ahead to the new financial year with optimism. The family business is anticipating domestic and international growth in 2017.
The stagnation in turnover suffered in the Swiss restaurant & hotel sector is a slight cause for concern for HUG. To counteract this trend, the company is intensifying marketing activities with additional specialists at home and abroad. HUG is launching a new sophisticated Tartelette product line and relying more on frozen ready-made bakery products in Switzerland. As far as the export of semi-finished products for the restaurant & hotel sector is concerned, a constant increase in turnover is however expected.
The press release and pictures from the media breakfast can be downloaded at the following addresses:
HUG Familie: current press releases
Werner Hug Tel. 041 499 75 75
Irene Bühlmann Tel. 041 499 75 11 Fax 041 499 75 65 (Assistant to the Board of Management) irene.buehlmann@ hug-familie.ch
About the HUG family
HUG AG with the three brands HUG, Wernli and DAR-VIDA employs about 380 people at the three locations Malters, Willisau and Trimbach. HUG was established as a bakery in 1877 in Lucerne and today it is still in the fourth generation as a family company. The two brothers Andreas Hug (Managing Director) and Werner Hug (President of the Board of Directors) manage the company according to three basic principles: warm, business-like and conscientious – simply HUG. With the three brands, HUG, Wernli and DAR-VIDA, the company offers a wide range of products: typical Swiss biscuits from HUG such as Willisauer Ringli, biscuit specialities from Wernli such as Choco Petit Beurre, and DAR-VIDA crackers. All three brands stand for freshness, origin and sustainability. In addition to the retail products, HUG offers a high-quality and extensive range of bakery products such as HUG Tartelettes for the restaurant & hotel sector.