Rachel Big Pot

Rachel’s owners blamed a ‘very difficult environment’

Rachel’s Organic owner Lactalis Nestlé saw an 11% fall in turnover last year in the face of a “very difficult economic environment”, latest accounts have shown.

The supplier, a joint venture between Nestlé and French dairy giant Lactalis, saw sales fall £13.5m to £108.3m for the year to 31 December 2019, according to latest accounts published at Companies House.

Pre-tax profit for the year also fell 15.9% to £3.6m due to what the supplier described as a “declining market” that it didn’t “expect to change in the immediate future”.

Despite launching a range of big pots last year and revamping its packaging, Rachel’s saw sales fall by 19% to £21.2m last year [The Grocer Top Products Survey/Nielsen], following a £4m slump in 2018 after the brand was a key victim of Waitrose’s yoghurt aisle reset in 2018.

Other brands such as Munch Bunch (down 9%) and Ski (down 13%) also suffered a drop in sales last year, according to Top Products data.

But despite the performance of its brands, Lactalis Nestlé stressed the business continued to innovate while “striving to widen our customer base and range of listings in various customers” and had made “a significant investment in marketing our key brands”.

It also stressed demand for its products had been maintained through the pandemic, while customer satisfaction was high, with the supplier achieving over 99% for fulfilment and on-time delivery of customer orders, up from 98% in 2018.

It concluded that the business had been “operating effectively and efficiently”, while also protecting its workforce’s wellbeing during the pandemic. The supplier added that as a result of a change in consumer habits during lockdown, it expected 2020’s financial performance to show an improvement on 2019.