Valio Group net sales in 2020 were EUR 1,808 million (2019: EUR 1,787 million), up 1.2% on the previous year. Domestic net sales decreased by 0.9 percent, and international net sales rose 4.3 percent. The coronavirus pandemic affected domestic consumption and was visible in the growth in retail sales and the decrease in HoReCa sales. However, in the challenging year the company was able to slightly improve the milk return.
The coronavirus pandemic affected our operations in all markets. People stayed at home and cooked for themselves, boosting retail sales. Eating in restaurants and staff canteens fell away, so hotel, restaurant and catering (HoReCa) sales decreased.
Says Annikka Hurme, CEO, Valio: “Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Valio recorded a good financial performance and the milk return continued to grow. I am especially proud of the fact that, in spite of the challenging year, we were able to secure our employees’ health and wellbeing, and we were able to maintain normal production and excellent delivery reliability. One of our strengths is flexible production capacity, so we were able to shift production quickly from large package sizes designed for restaurants to consumer packages. Additionally, demand in our export markets grew, despite the pandemic.”
The impacts of the pandemic were clearly visible in domestic consumption, as it shifted from eating in restaurants to home cooking. Consumer buying power weakened in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, so we launched more items under the Valio Hyvä suomalainen Arki brand.
The market for plant-based products also continued to grow. Valio Oddlygood Barista became a favourite with consumers in Finland. During the year the company launched Valio Oddlygood Veggie grated, which is used like cheese.
Net sales from international operations totalled EUR 746 million (EUR 715 million). The growth was strongest in China, where demand recovered quickly after the coronavirus shock in early 2020, and net sales increased by more than 40 percent on the previous year.
Added Hurme: “Despite the growth, Valio is a small actor in China. Our most important task is to further improve the profitability of exports and to build recognition of our products and brand.”
Growth in net sales in the nearby markets of Sweden, Estonia, and Russia was moderate. In the US, the pandemic caused steep price fluctuations, which weakened financial performance, but net sales remained at a reasonably level. After a slump early in the year, the global market price of milk powders began to rise towards the end of the year. For the full report visit valio.com