HUG Familie  |  22. January 2020

HUG – Still growing and passing on to the next generation

As of 1 January 2020, a new model of joint management was introduced at the top of the HUG Bakery Group located in Malters/Lucerne: Andreas Hug (4th generation) and Anna Hug (5th generation) now share the leadership of the HUG company. They look back at a positive year 2019, as the company increased its sales by 3.8% to 123.3 million Swiss francs. Overall and thanks to its three brands HUG, DAR-VIDA and Wernli, the company was able to expand its market share in Switzerland, and sales abroad in the food service industry increased by 13 %. Hence the annual tonnage grew by 384 tons to reach 9'738 tons. The company hired 16 people and now employs 386 full-time equivalents.

“We are very pleased with our development during the past business year”, says Andreas Hug, co-Managing Director of the HUG company. The consumer mood in Switzerland and on foreign markets was good and the many HUG innovations were well received by consumers and the food service industry, which had a positive effect on the business performance. Considering the work in progress in relation with the transfer of the Wernli production site from Trimbach to Malters in 2021, this good result is even more encouraging.

HUG implements a joint management as an innovative model of leadership

Reconciling work and family life has been a concern of the HUG Family for many years and the company has always supported new trends such as working from home and family-friendly working conditions. The part-time model has now reached the top management of the HUG company and as of 1 January 2020, Anna Hug (5th generation), co-Managing Director in charge of markets, and Andreas Hug (4th generation), co-Managing Director in charge of operations, share the leadership of the company. “Implementing such a co-leadership model has been at the core of a major project within the family management, in recent years, since we planned to pass on the company to the 5th generation”, says Werner Hug, who now wishes to concentrate more and more on his activities as Chairman of the administrative board. What’s more, four of the nine members of the Executive Board and 27% of the 75 employees working at managerial level already work part-time.

Wernli – Expanding on the biscuit market

Love sharing Wernli. In 2019, the slogan was part of a new advertising campaign and proved to be true: last year, Wernli’s focus on biscuit specialities paid off, generating a strong growth and an increase in market share. Anna Hug, co-Managing Director of the HUG company, is very pleased: “The innovative Ruby Choco-Petit Beurre is flourishing and already found enthusiastic fans abroad”. The launch of the new Chocoly, with 30% less sugar and the full Chocoly taste, was equally successful. As far as HUG is concerned, the production for retail brands and competence brands is in decline.

DAR-VIDA Simply – Setting trends despite strong headwinds

Being copied by competitors does not stop DAR-VIDA from increasing its revenue, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years. The new DAR-VIDA Simply crackers, made of spelt and airier than the original, have been very well received by the market. Thanks to its many innovations, the brand has become a trendsetter for healthy, well-balanced biscuits and is now about to launch a new and salty snack: DAR-VIDA Crispy – crispy, airy and gluten-free crackers made with high-protein lentils and hummus. Crispy is a brilliant addition to the savoury snacks currently available on the market, given that this market segment is in full expansion.

Growing in the food service industry

The new frozen rolls and further innovations contributed to a 6 % growth in the Swiss food service industry, yet in 2019, the export of the Filigrano Tartelettes generated the strongest sales growth, plus 41 % compared to the previous year. The successful takeover of Hardegger Hüppen on 1 January 2019 helped HUG to consolidate its leading position on the market segment of dessert accompaniment. On the B2B market, new Filigrano Tartelettes varieties are planned for 2020 and the range of frozen baked goods is due to expand, with the launch of additional specialties. Finally, a new cooperation will start with distribution partners abroad.

The backhaus-project is still on target

Despite a slight delay, the transfer of the Wernli production site from Trimbach to Malters, a massive project, is still on track. “We make every effort to ensure the transfer of all the existing know-how, which proves to be very challenging, since in our field of activity, specialists are scarce in the region”, states Andreas Hug, co-Managing Director of the HUG company. Good sales developments on the trend markets require additional plant capacity. Investments in construction and facilities will therefore amount to approximately 80 million Swiss francs between 2019 to 2023. The backhaus is expected to go into operation by the end of 2020.

The press release and the corresponding pictures can be downloaded using the following link: