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Margarine specialists want to take advantage of the French appetite for plants

2020-09-24T14:32:54.369Z

The 350 million euro market returned to growth this year, after years of decline. Planta Fin, Fruit d'Or and Saint-Hubert are also working on greener packaging.



The French may have rediscovered the taste of butter for five years, they do not forget to vary the pleasures.

Thus, the margarine market, which has been declining for years, has regained some color this year.

Particularly under the effect of the renewed interest of the French for cooking at home during confinement.

According to Nielsen, the department's turnover rose 3.7% during the period from January to August.

Today, the brands in the sector achieve 350 million euros in turnover, far behind the almost 2 billion euros in butter turnover, of which the French are the world champions of consumption with 8 kilos. swallowed per year.

However, the regain of form of this vegetable fat is very recent, sales having fallen by 4.4% in volume last year according to FranceAgrimer.

Appetite for plants

"It is indeed a bit early to say whether margarine is structurally regaining ground compared to butter

," explains Hervé Salomon

,

General Manager France and Belgium of Upfield (Planta Fin, Fruit d'Or, Végétaline, Astra ...), whose turnover is estimated at 110 million euros.

What is certain is that consumers have an appetite for plant-based alternatives, whether margarine, yogurts, soy steaks, etc., with the development of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian habits.

From this point of view, our brands and margarine are perfectly positioned to contribute to the recovery of the market ”

.

The next few months will tell if this renewed interest in vegetable fat will last beyond the crisis and containment effect.

Because for its part, butter continues to be the preference of the French for cooking and their pastries.

Thus, during and after containment, butter sales have repeatedly exceeded 25% growth, according to panelist Nielsen.

To help them make the transition, brands are not lacking in imagination.

Saint-Hubert, the market leader with 36.7% by volume and 45% by value, has just launched Petit Pot, a mixture of butter and margarine, to combine the taste and the health argument of a less fat.

The brand did well during the crisis, regaining market share with a 7% increase in volumes over the first eight months of the year.

Efforts on packaging

All the players are stepping up their efforts to keep the new momentum going.

With its 32% of the market, Upfield, which brings together the former margarine brands of the giant Unilever sold in 2017 to the KKR fund, wants to surf on the themes of health and growing environmental concerns of consumers.

The group has just launched Planta Fin 100% vegetable, with biodegradable paper packaging, in a mild and semi-salt version.

We are going to devote half of our marketing investments this year to this product,

” says Hervé Salomon.

Other references or brands of the group could also soon go under this "

paper

"

version

.

A way to respond to criticism of the famous plastic trays that traditionally protect margarine.

A material pilloried for two years for its environmental impact.

The leader St Hubert is not left out, who launched at the start of the school year a jar of 70% cardboard and 30% plastic, and lightened its lid to save 120 tonnes of plastic per year.

He also worked on the nutritional profile by reducing his list of ingredients.

St Hubert was one of the first to affix Nutriscore on its packages to highlight its healthy side compared to butter (more fat therefore rated D or E; against C or D for its products).

Source: lefigaro

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