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Sustainable growth with strong local brands

In 2019 Orkla strengthened its position as a leading branded consumer goods company through organic growth and several acquisitions. We focused even more strongly on sustainability and saw growth for plant-based products.

Our vision is to be “Your friend in everyday life”, which means that we aim to meet consumer desires and needs with strong local brands that respond to current trends. A growing number of our launches are designed to satisfy demand for more eco-friendly grocery products, healthier food and plant-based products. We strive to inspire and delight, and we want to be where consumers want to be.

In the past year, we have made a number of acquisitions in line with our strategy of growing in new channels. By purchasing Kotipizza, Lecora and Easyfood we strengthened our position in the out-of-home segment. In the health drink segment, we acquired 43.5 per cent of the Captain Kombucha brand, and we took over 20 per cent of Nói Síríus, an Icelandic chocolate and confectionery manufacturer that holds several number one positions in the local market.

The purchases of Vamo, Zeelandia, Kanakis, Bo Risberg Import and Confection by Design complemented Orkla Food Ingredients’ position as supplier of ingredients and accessories to the bakery and ice cream market.

A highlight in Orkla’s history was also marked in 2019 when Orkla House, the main base of the Nordic region’s largest branded consumer goods company, was completed in March. More than 900 Orkla employees moved into a state-of-the-art office building constructed to high environmental standards and offering a wide range of services for the general public.

I myself had the pleasure and honour of experiencing Orkla House as my new place of work in August when I took up my duties as Orkla President and CEO. In my first few months, I have tried to visit as many of our businesses as possible. I have greatly appreciated these visits, through which I have become better acquainted with the different parts of the Group and, not least, with so many capable, competent and engaged employees.

When I was given the job, I said that it was a dream come true and now, at the end of my first six months, I can only say that it has been even more exciting, challenging, inspiring, educational, motivating and fun than I could possibly have imagined. Every day, I feel an enthusiasm, a sense of humility and great pleasure at being given the opportunity to head a group like Orkla, with so many competent people and strong local brands.

Our strategy of being a leading branded consumer goods com- pany remains unchanged. We will continue to grow within our core areas and will seek to achieve growth both organically and through acquisitions. To succeed, we need to reduce the com- plexity of our operations and prioritise the activities that create value, by strengthening our portfolio in high-growth categories, channels and geographies.

In the past few months, we have made organisational changes in Group functions in order to ensure that we are optimally equipped to face an increasingly difficult competitive situation.

Our operational activities will be strengthened, and Orkla’s business areas will be given an even clearer mandate and responsibilities.

Sustainability has become a natural part of our business model, and we have drawn up criteria for our definition of sustainability products. In the past year, we have introduced climate impact labelling on TORO soup packets, launched crisps in recyclable packets and focused on plant-based products. We are committed to helping to solve the global health and sustainability challenges and to supporting the UN’s Global Goals. Through strong innovations, based on local consumer insight, we will continue to make each day better with local, sustainable brands.

Jaan Ivar Semlitsch, President and CEO