French company Teisseire, best known as a producer of cordials, has registered a 3.2 per cent drop in sales for the first nine months of the year, due mainly to changes in the group structure as it refocuses its business.
Consolidated group sales for the year to date were €115.6 million, down from €119.4 million a year earlier, with a slight increase in first quarter sales more than offset by declines of over 4 per cent in the second and third quarters.
For Teisseire itself - rather than the consolidated group - sales were down 6 per cent in the year to September at €80.9 million. On a like-for-like basis, however, the company posted an increase of 1.8 per cent, pushing up group sales by 2.5 per cent.
The company said that part of the decline in sales was due to the fact that the first three quarters of 2001 included sales of €6.6 million results from a subsidiary making fruit juice products for supermarket own labels, a business which has since been discontinued.
Further sales were also lost following the disposal of the group's Unisource business in August 2001.
Teisseire is in the process of revitalising its business both at home and abroad. Veronique Girod-Roux, head of corporate communications at the Grenoble-based company, told Food and Drink Europe.com that the traditional image of Teisseire as a cordial maker was changing, at least in France.
"We have been making fruit juices for just five years or so, but we knew it would be hard for a newcomer like us to take on the major fruit juice players if we just produced the standard range like everyone else. That is why we decided to focus on innovative products rather than just run-of-the-mill juices, and it appears to be paying off," she said.
These innovative products include brands such as Ethno Bar and Cactus, both of which garnered a great deal of interest at the SIAL food exhibition last month in Paris.
"The Ethno Bar range consists of three drinks based on orange juice mixed with other juices and with added spices. All three are designed to meet increasing consumer demands for 'world foods' - products which offer a taste of the exotic. The orange, mango and curry juice drink is designed to represent India, while the orange, lime and chilli pepper variant offers a taste of Mexico. The orange, fig and coriander juice reflects the Moroccan food culture."
All three juices are designed as aperitifs and are completely alcohol-free. They are targeted at young adults and are currently only available in the take-home market - though they may eventually be launched in bars and restaurants.
Cactus has seen the reverse path to market, having been launched in the on-trade two years ago before hitting selected supermarket shelves earlier this summer. It is a cactus juice drink sold in a 33 cl long-neck bottle, and targeted squarely at consumers accustomed to drinking premium beers directly from the bottle.
"Increasing numbers of younger drinkers like to drink from the bottle, but there are also many of them who do not want to drink beer when they go out. Cactus offers them something innovative, original and exciting which can be drunk directly from the bottle but which is completely alcohol-free," said Girod-Roux. "But for those who like a little alcohol with their juice, it is of course the perfect mixer with that other Mexican favourite, tequila (which of course is also distilled from cactus plants)."
Teisseire has been changing its image as a cordial maker too, revamping the bottle design in France and abroad (the company sells its products in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and various eastern European countries, among others) , and introducing a standard 60cl size. The company has also extended the range of its Barman cordials which are designed for the on trade and come with an easy-grip bottle neck.
A further innovation is the introduction of a range of syrups designed to add flavour to the old favourite, coffee - a trend imported to Europe from the US. The cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, Irish Cream, hazelnut and caramel syrups can add a bit of spice or flavour to coffee or tea, and are designed to meet the growing trend towards coffee shops which is spreading across Europe.