The HUG bakery products group in Malters/Lucerne can look back on a positive financial year in 2017, having increased its sales by 2.7% to 116.6 million francs. The DAR-VIDA brand and exports of Wernli biscuits and HUG Tartelettes for the restaurant & hotel sector were particularly significant in contributing towards this strong growth. In addition, the tonnage produced at HUG's three locations in Trimbach, Willisau and Malters rose from 8,800 tonnes to 9,240 tonnes in the company’s 140th anniversary year.
The HUG Group is ending its 140th year of business on a positive note: “The increase in tonnage produced meant that we were able to improve our market share of goods produced in Switzerland once again in 2017,” declared Andreas Hug, Delegate of the Board of Directors of HUG AG at the media conference in Malters. Thanks to DAR-VIDA and the continued positive development of the export business, annual sales rose by 2.7% to 116.6 million francs. A total of 344 people are now employed at the production sites in Malters, Willisau and Trimbach, eight more than in the previous year.
Plans for a new Swiss backhaus
In the interest of basing 100% of its production in Switzerland, HUG is investing 50 million francs in its Swiss business location: the creation of a new backhaus in Malters – one of the most modern plants of its kind in Europe – will build upon previous commercial successes. Bringing together the current production facilities in Malters and Trimbach at the company headquarters in Malters will generate important synergies that will contribute towards further positive business development. HUG will also implement an innovative and sustainable energy concept in its new plant. 128 people currently work at the production site in Trimbach (120 full-time equivalents), and the company wants to maintain as many of these jobs as possible at the new location in Malters. Early announcement of the amalgamation will allow the Trimbach employees to plan their future careers carefully.
“We came to the conclusion that a concentration of our resources in Switzerland combined with highly automated production processes would be the optimal solution for the future of our family-run business,” says Anna Hug, member of the HUG AG Management Board. The new Malters plant is scheduled to go into operation by 2020.
Trend towards healthy baked goods
Healthy snacks are currently extremely popular among the Swiss population. As such, DAR-VIDA wholemeal crackers gained further market share in 2017, with a 20% boost in sales. This shows that HUG has succeeded in tapping into the latest trends through the launch of its new line, “DAR-VIDA Break”. In the company’s 140th anniversary year, the classic HUG Zwieback is also enjoying a surge in popularity and experiencing a real revival.
Biscuit consumption under pressure
The flip side of this health trend is the slight decline in the consumption of biscuits and chocolate products, as sugar consumption is increasingly seen as unhealthy. “We are rising to this challenge and considering how we can react to this feeling among consumers. However, as we make products that are aimed at indulgence, we do not want to reduce sugar content in general, but are instead researching other solutions, such as launching new baked items with less sugar. We are convinced that the conscious enjoyment of biscuits – in moderation, of course – makes people happy and has a positive effect on well-being,” explains Werner Hug, President of the Board of Directors of HUG AG.
Successful launch of new Filigrano Tartelettes
The recently introduced thin-edged Filigrano Tartelettes with their high-quality butter recipe, straight sides and new shapes, have been a great hit with the restaurant and hotel sector. They represent an innovative product that will enable HUG to push handmade tartelettes out of the market, particularly in Asia and the USA, due to the company's high-precision shaping and packaging technology.
Plans for further export growth
Additional growth in exports for the hotel and restaurant sector is expected in 2018 thanks to the innovative Filigrano Tartelettes, following on from very positive development of this business segment last year. In terms of biscuit exports, Asia in particular has a great deal of potential, which HUG is looking to harness more effectively. The investment in the backhaus will also play a part in this: “In order to remain competitive, investment in equipment that enables us to manufacture exportable products is our priority,” says Andreas Hug.
The press release and pictures from the media breakfast can be downloaded at the following addresses:
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