Wessanen CEO: ‘A food revolution in Europe is starting and we want to play a leading role’

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The company aims to become the leader in health and sustainable food in Europe, according to CEO Christophe Barnouin
The company aims to become the leader in health and sustainable food in Europe, according to CEO Christophe Barnouin

Related tags: Investment

Netherlands-based food group Wessanen says its strategy to divest 90% of its brands and focus on healthy, organic and sustainable products is working to create a stronger business.

The company reported 20.7% overall growth in the first half of 2015, and EBITE of €19.2m, up 10.3% from €17.4m a year earlier. Wessanen has cut its turnover from about €4bn in 2000, when it employed about 17,000 people, to €434m last year, with a staff of about 700. Its aim has been to align its activities and values to create a more sustainable company.

“More and more people in Europe are becoming conscious that what they eat has a major impact on their health and on our planet,”​ CEO Christophe Barnouin said in a statement. “A food revolution in Europe is starting and we want to play a leading role in it."

In recent years, the company has divested any parts of its business that did not fit with its sustainability and health goals, such as its meats, frozen foods and drinks divisions, and acquired companies that did, such as Clipper teas, Alter Eco and Abafoods.

Barnouin said Abafoods – which makes plant-based organic drinks under the brands Isola Bio and Sole del Mattino – was performing strongly.

“The Isola Bio brand has grown more than 40% year-to-date,” ​he said. “The businesses we integrated in the last few years – Clipper and Alter Eco – are also doing well.

Our strategy is working and our focus is on further improving execution.”

He added that the company had significantly increased its marketing investments in the first half of the year “in order to drive our core brands ahead of market”.​ 

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