The joint initiative digitises end-to-end supply chain processes at Eckes-Granini and breaks down information silos within the organisation
o9 Solutions, a leading enterprise AI software platform provider for transforming planning and decision-making, and Genpact, a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation, announced the completion of the first phase to digitise and augment the global supply chain of Eckes-Granini, a leading supplier of fruit juices and beverages in Europe.
This transformation initiative combines Genpact’s decades of expertise in retail and consumer goods, supply chain optimisation, and digitally enabled operations with o9’s Digital Brain platform, which is powered by o9’s proprietary Enterprise Knowledge Graph (EKG) technology for end-to-end supply chain and scenario planning. Together, the o9 and Genpact teams enabled a digitalisation process that breaks down information silos and transforms Eckes-Granini’s operations into efficiently integrated ecosystems that are fully transparent and streamlined for the company, its vendors, and suppliers.
The implementation will reduce supply chain costs and inventories, eliminate excess inventory, waste and duplicative processes and enhance operating efficiencies to support long-term goals. In the first phase, Eckes-Granini went live with the Valorized Demand Planning process in Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Finland, Sweden, and its international business, bringing together Supply Chain, Finance, Sales and Marketing under the same process and tool.
“By digitising our supply chains, we gain transparency to make more meaningful decisions with our alliances and inventories across the value chains, as well as continue to offer the highest quality of products that our customers expect,” said Tobias Rudolf, Chief Information Officer at Eckes-Granini. “We are striving to become one of the most sustainable companies in the juice and fruit beverages sector.”
The past business year was a year of contrasts for the Eckes-Granini Group GmbH a year full of contrasts. The second pandemic year pandemic year and customer conflicts in the food retail sector once again presented the company with challenges, while 2021 also marked the start of the largest transformation in the company’s history. Sales revenue decreased moderately from 873 million euros in fiscal 2020 to 856 million euros (- 1.9 %), while sales volumes also declined, falling by 38 million litres to 805 million litres (- 4.5 %). Germany and France were particularly affected by the decline in sales volumes. Here, differing views on price adjustments led in part to the discontinuation of supply relationships with partners in the food retail sector. As a result, Eckes-Granini posted EBIT of 57.2 million euros (previous year: 71.0 million euros). The decline of 13.8 million euros is attributable to the effects of the pandemic, customer conflicts in the food retail sector and significantly higher costs for raw and packaging materials compared to the previous year. Tim Berger, CEO of Eckes-Granini Group GmbH, looks back on the business year as follows: “Despite considerable challenges posed by Corona, lower sales volumes and massive cost inflation, we succeeded in gaining market share – especially in the Nordic and Baltic countries – and strengthening our position during the past business year. Overall, our sales grew in nine out of ten countries. We also performed well in our international business in European countries and outside Europe.”
Eckes-Granini remains market leader
While the market for fruit juices, nectars and fruit beverages (FJND) was still able to benefit from food stockpiling in 2020, it declined in both value (- 2.1 %) and volume (- 4.4 %) in the second pandemic year. In particular, there was less demand for ambient, non-refrigerated fruit drinks sold via retailers. Accordingly, the 2021 segment recorded a decline of 3.7 % in sales and 5.2 % in volume sales, thus performing somewhat weaker than the market as a whole. In this generally weaker market environment, Eckes-Granini recorded a 0.7 % decline in market share in terms of value (market share 12.2 %) and a 0.8 % decline in volume (market share 11.3 %). The good news is that brands continue to gain market share. The e-commerce segment also continues to grow strongly but is not included in these figures. Eckes-Granini was able to make significant gains here, growing by + 35 %.
Full focus on innovation, digitization, and sustainability
In the area of product innovations, the company got off to a flying start with the market launch of hohes C Super Shots in Germany and Joker Shots in France. The popular hohes C Super Shots are currently leading the two-digit growth of the shot category in Germany (+ 31.1 %). Since the past business year, the Eckes- Granini Group has also been investing heavily in new distribution channels and cooperative ventures, and growth and the acquisition of new customers in e-commerce are developing particularly promisingly.
The Eckes-Granini Group also scored points in sustainability in 2021. With the publication of the first Group-wide sustainability report and the implementation of numerous measures, Eckes-Granini took important steps toward a more sustainable orientation of its business activities last year. To reduce emissions in line with the latest climate science criteria and achieve its ambitious targets, Eckes-Granini has been working with the independent Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) since 2021.
Successfully heading for the future with a strong growth strategy
2021 marked the launch of the Eckes-Granini Group’s Strategy 2025 and thus the largest transformation in the company’s history. “The transformation in the FJND market will continue and requires new ways of thinking and working – also from us as ‘category thought leaders’,” says Tim Berger. “At the same time, our goals are clearly defined: In 2025, we want to generate one billion euros in net sales and achieve a market share of 15 % in Europe. We successfully laid the foundation for these ambitious goals in 2021 and are now building on them. In the past fiscal year, we succeeded in maintaining our market leadership position despite numer ous challenges and a difficult market environment, growing locally and driving for- ward key innovations. We have thus made a solid and motivated start to 2022.”
About the Eckes-Granini Group Eckes-Granini is the leading supplier of fruit juices and fruit beverages in Euro-pa. For the inde- pendent family-owned company headquartered in Nieder-Olm, Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate), the focus is on committed and competent employees, strong brands in the areas of juices, fruit beverages and smoothies, and a long-term strategic orientation with sustainable value creation. Today, Eckes-Granini operates mainly in Europe with its own national companies and strategic partners and generates annual sales of 856 million euros with a total of 1697 employees. The com- pany’s foundation is formed by the internationally renowned premium brands granini and Pago to- gether with strong national and regional brands for juices such as hohes C, Joker and God Morgon. Consumers in 80 countries worldwide and especially in Europe know and appreciate our fruit juices and the variety of fruit drinks.
Eckes-Granini Group GmbH can look back on a challenging business year in 2020, which was strongly influenced by the global COVID-19 pandemic. With an EBIT of 71 million EUR and an EBIT margin of 8.7 %, business results fell short of expectations in the past year, but the international corporate group for non-alcoholic fruit beverages nevertheless draws a satisfactory conclusion. Compared to the previous year, the company managed to almost maintain its EBIT margin, which was 8.9 % in 2019. Total turnover fell from EUR 921 million in the 2019 financial year to 873 million EUR in 2020 (-5.2 %), while sales volumes also declined in 2020, falling by 10 million litres to 843 million litres.
“The past business year was without a question a challenge for all of us. However, together we have managed to respond to this extraordinary situation with great flexibility and willingness to perform. We have maintained our supply chain and production throughout the year and expanded our market leadership in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect us in 2021. This year, we will set the strategic internal course for sustainable growth “after Corona”,” says Tim Berger, CEO of the Eckes-Granini Group.
After an initially promising start to the first quarter of 2020, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive setback in the out-of-home business from March onwards. In almost all European countries, restaurants and hotels were completely closed for months due to the Corona restrictions. Accordingly, Eckes-Granini suffered losses of up to 50 % in the out-of-home business in some markets.
Strong food retail partially offsets losses in the out-of-home business
The demand for fruit juices and fruit beverages developed positively in 2020. In contrast to previous years, which saw a declining trend, the FJND (Fruit Juice Nectar Drinks) market developed positively in 2020, both in terms of value (+2.2 %) and volume (+1.5 %). In particular the chilled-juice and ambient-juice segments were able to grow. With a growth of 3.9 %, Eckes-Granini grew almost twice as fast as the market in terms of value and was thus the growth driver in the FJND category again last year. In the food retail segment, the Eckes-Granini Group increased sales by 3 %, driven in particular by higher demand as a result of the ongoing Corona pandemic. Overall, the good results in food retail helped to compensate, at least in part, for the drastic decline in the out-of-home business.
Ongoing health awareness among consumers offers growth potential
The rising demand for fruit juices is also attributable to the continuing strong health trend among consumers. This is reflected in the positive development of the
Eckes-Granini Benefit Ranges, which have won over consumers with their additional health benefits. In Germany, Hungary, Austria and Lithuania, for example, the hohes C PLUS range grew by a total of 10 %, thus outpacing the overall growth of Eckes-Granini brands (+5.9 %) in these markets. The juices in the God Morgon Benefit range also benefited from this trend, with growth of 5 %, as did the shots of the Eckes-Granini brands Rynkeby, Brämhults and Marli.
In solidarity through the pandemic
The difficult situation in the out-of-home market was not the only challenge Eckes- Granini was facing in the pandemic year 2020. Ensuring smooth processes along the supply chain, in production and in operations also demanded a great deal from employees in terms of flexibility and commitment. Nevertheless, in the midst of the global crisis, it was important for the Group not to lose sight of its long-standing business partners and the situation in the communities in which Eckes-Granini operates. In an effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, Eckes-Granini supported restaurant owners Germany, Austria and France, among other countries, with donations. Under the umbrella of the Group-wide “Corona Relief Fund”, all eleven national subsidiaries of the Eckes-Granini Group also donated some 500,000 litres of fruit juice to people in systemically important professions and to charitable institutions from April to September 2020. And in the pandemic year, the international charity cycling initiative Team Rynkeby also collected 8.7 million EUR for seriously ill children despite many restrictions with regional country tours. Eckes-Granini has been a main sponsor and partner of the charity cycling race since 2016.
Sustainable management was also a priority in 2020
In the past business year, Eckes-Granini achieved a number of strategic milestones on its way to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable fruit juice producers by establishing an in-house sustainability team. The orange juices of Brazil, granini and God Morgon have carried the Group’s own “Sustainably Grown” label since last year and are produced from 100 % sustainably grown oranges. Through its cooperation with ClimatePartner, Eckes-Granini has also come closer to its goal of successively reducing all greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by its own business activities and offsetting them through a compensation project in Portel, Brazil.
Setting the course for future growth
“We have set ourselves a lot of goals for 2025. At the top are innovations strictly oriented to the wishes, expectations and needs of consumers. The current beverage market offers Eckes-Granini numerous growth opportunities, which we will explore. Our goal is to significantly increase our sales revenues and market share in Europe and beyond by 2025″, says Tim Berger, CEO of the Eckes-Granini Group. To this end, the Eckes-Granini Group will continue to develop and expand its strategic brands and existing channels in a targeted manner over the next five years and invest substantially in dynamic growth categories. There will be a clear focus on channels that promise profitable growth, especially e-commerce.”
About the Eckes-Granini Group: Eckes-Granini is the leading supplier of fruit juices and fruit beverages in Europe. For the independent family-owned company headquartered in Nieder-Olm, Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate), the focus is on committed and competent employees, strong brands in the areas of juices, fruit beverages and smoothies, and a long-term strategic orientation with sustainable value creation. Today, Eckes-Granini operates mainly in Europe with its own national companies and strategic partners and generates annual sales of 873 million euros with a total of 1708 employees. The company’s foundation is formed by the internationally renowned premium brands granini and Pago together with strong national and regional brands for juices and fruit beverages. Consumers in 80 countries worldwide and especially in Europe know and appreciate our fruit juices and the variety of fruit beverages.
Eckes-Granini and Refresco today announced that they have established the JuicyChain Foundation. This is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of making the global juice supply chain more sustainable. The foundation will manage and further develop the “JuicyChain”, which is an open source blockchain-based traceability and transparency platform. IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative is acting as an Advisor to the Board of the JuicyChain Foundation.
This new platform, based on The New Fork’s open food chain platform, was designed to create added value for all parties involved in the juice supply chain: from growers to processors, bottlers, brand owners, retailers and consumers. JuicyChain supports a move towards a significant increase in availability of sustainable juice in the marketplace. All companies in the juice industry can join JuicyChain and share information about sustainable juice easily and efficiently. Consumers and other stakeholders will be able to examine provenance and sustainability data by scanning a unique QR code on a finished juice product.
The New Fork has developed the platform blueprint and are the JuicyChain Foundation’s IT Provider. This blockchain based platform brings transparency to the efforts to increase the sustainability of juice in the industry.
“The blockchain technology brings us new and exciting possibilities to drive positive change. With the JuicyChain, we are continuing to work on increasing digitalization and sustainability of our business processes.” explains Holger Schlenger, CIO at Eckes-Granini.
JuicyChain aims to accelerate the uptake of sustainable juice volumes by providing supply chain transparency and trust. It enables customer and consumer-facing communication on sustainable juice with minimum entry barriers. JuicyChain members will need to be aligned with the sustainable sourcing definitions under the Sustainable Juice Covenant, hosted by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative.
More companies are invited
We invite all parties in the juice supply chain to join JuicyChain so that we can further develop the platform together. Join us and be a frontrunner driving traceability, transparency and sustainability in global juice supply chains. As Coert Michielsen, CPO at Refresco says: “By teaming up with others we can move faster towards a common goal of more sustainable juice supply chains and promote the uptake of sustainable juice across the supply chain.”
…and will contribute to protect 17,872 hectares of forest in the Amazon area annually
The Eckes-Granini Group with all its subsidiaries will operate climate neutral throughout Europe as of January 1, 2021. Europe-wide, the Group emitted 43,082 tons of carbon into the atmosphere in 2019 – caused, among other things, by energy and heating, waste processing, employee commuting and business trips. This is the result of a profound analysis of the companies’ carbon footprint in cooperation with ClimatePartner. The solution provider of climate action for companies has been supporting the leading supplier of fruit juices and fruit beverages since this year. With regard to the fight against climate change, the Eckes-Granini Group strives for zero greenhouse gas emissions. In order to get much closer to this overall goal, the Group will offset 43,000 tons carbon emissions of its direct business activities through a carbon offset project conducted by ClimatePartner in Portel, Brazil. Thereby, Eckes-Granini ensures the protection of 17,872 hectares of forest in the Amazon region per year.
Eckes-Granini offsets its emissions by supporting a forest protection project in Portel, in the Brazilian state of Pará. The project protects a total of 151,105 hectares of forest each year. It also provides alternative sources of income and education for the residents of Portel, e.g. through the cultivation of pepper or the training of forest rangers.
Commitment to climate action across Europe
The German subsidiary of Eckes-Granini (hohes C, granini) has already been climate neutral since 2019. This is a great success that was achieved through the implementation of numerous climate protection measures. These include the modernization of facilities, the purchase of green electricity and the reduction of fuel consumption in the logistics fleet. As of January 2021, the entire carbon footprint of all eleven European subsidiaries will be offset.
About ClimatePartner ClimatePartner is a solution provider of climate action for companies. ClimatePartner combines individual consulting with cloud-based software that is unique on the market. Customers can use it to calculate and reduce carbon emissions and compensate for unavoidable emissions. In this way, products and companies become climate neutral, which is confirmed by the ClimatePartner label. ClimatePartner offers carbon offset projects in different regions and with different technologies and standards. The additional social effects of the projects are particularly important: The 17 goals for sustainable development of the United Nations, the SDGs, are the benchmark here. ClimatePartner was founded in Munich in 2006 and today has more than 100 employees in Munich, Berlin, Essen, Vienna, Zurich and Yerevan and cooperates with more than 2,500 companies in 35 countries.