HUG Familie  |  23. January 2019

HUG: Growth through brands and innovation

The HUG Baked Goods Group in Malters/Lucerne recorded a successful year in 2018 with a sales increase of 1.8% to CHF 118.8 million. This is not least due to the strong growth in export business and the increase in production volume by 112 tonnes to 9,354 tonnes. At the end of the year, the Group employed 370 full-time equivalents, 26 more than in the previous year. A particular highlight was the ground-breaking ceremony for the new backhaus project in November 2018. HUG’s production facilities in Malters and Wernli in Trimbach are scheduled to be merged at the company’s headquarters in Malters as early as 2021.

The HUG Baked Goods Group is satisfied with the 2018 financial year. The three brands HUG, DAR-VIDA and Wernli with their innovations made a major contribution to the good result – in addition to the generally good consumer sentiment in Switzerland and the booming tourism sector. “While the consumption of baked goods in Switzerland is stagnating and Swiss production as a whole is declining, we want to grow increasingly through innovation in the future,” says Andreas Hug, Managing Director of HUG AG

World first Wernli “Choco Petit Beurre Ruby”

Fritz Wernli is the inventor of the Choco Petit Beurre biscuits: A piece of bread, a line of chocolate and the Swiss Kinderzvieri was ready. From this simple and ingenious idea, the most popular biscuit in Switzerland to date was born in 1964. In 2019, half a century later, Wernli launched the innovative biscuit, the “Choco Petit Beurre Ruby”, a world’s first, based on this classic: A thin chocolate layer made from the new Ruby chocolate poured onto a dark Petit Beurre biscuit.

It was by pure chance that the cocoa experts at HUG’s chocolate partner discovered the chocolate with its exceptional ruby red colour and fruity taste. It took them more than 13 years to unravel this secret of nature and perfect the recipe. The Wernli innovation will be presented to the public at the International Confectionery Fair ISM in Cologne at the end of January 2019 and launched in Switzerland in March.

“Filigrano” tartlets and new baked goods: Driving force for the HUG Food Service

The HUG tartlets for bakeries and gastronomy are the most important export area for HUG. The “Filigrano” innovation (thin butter tartlets) helped open up a number of new markets in 2018. In addition, the value added in the highly automated operation in Malters was increased last year by deciding against the further external production of “tartlets” and integrating it into the production in Malters.

Werner Hug, Chairman of the Board of HUG AG, comments on the B2B market in Switzerland: “The increasing number of imports of baked goods and frozen baked goods of all kinds is challenging for us". Through new technologies, more and more frozen baked goods are produced on site and finished desserts only have to be thawed. This is putting more and more bakeries in financial difficulty. HUG is countering this trend in the Swiss restaurant market with new frozen pastries: In autumn 2018, the range was expanded to include rolls and sweet biscuits for baking as well as a ready-to-serve snack/aperitif innovation for defrosting.

“DAR-VIDA simply” for the nutrition-conscious consumer

Although the strong growth of DAR-VIDA was slowed somewhat in 2018, the social need for healthy products with little sugar and fat continues to grow. The baked goods group is meeting this demand with new, innovative DAR-VIDA products: “The introduction of “DAR-VIDA simply”, a somewhat “airier” cracker with few ingredients based on Swiss spelt grain, is planned for 2019,” says Andreas Hug.

Promotion of Switzerland as a business location

Since the introduction of the Swissness rules, the HUG family has consistently relied on Swiss raw materials for all brands despite additional costs. The start of construction of the backhaus is the logical consequence and a clear commitment to the location – the ground-breaking ceremony for the major project took place in November 2018. Andreas Hug is aware of the risks that this attitude entails: “We have to procure agricultural raw materials in Switzerland at double the cost of our competitors abroad. The cost gap has widened further as a result of the recent political decision to increase border protection for sugar. But thanks to rational production, know-how and a good work ethic, this handicap should be compensated for.

Incorporation of Hardegger Hüppen AG

Hardegger Hüppen AG, which focuses on Hüppen and other specialities, was taken over by the former private owner on 1 January 2019. It will be fully incorporated into HUG AG in 2019. For the time being, production will remain at the previous location in Fahrweid, in the Canton of Zurich. The acquisition strengthens HUG AG’s leading position for dessert side dishes and ready-to-fill baked goods.

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