Under the multiyear licensing deal, Almond Breeze will coexist with Grupo Lala’s Vita Almendras beverage. Vita is a similar plant-based drink, thought it has a different formulation and product positioning than Almond Breeze.
Vita will keep its target of the mainstream, value market and Almond Breeze products will expand into the premium market during the first quarter of 2019.
Mauricio Leyva, CEO of Grupo Lala, said, “Lala’s partnership with Blue Diamond Growers strengthens our product portfolio, market-leading brands and an almond-based innovation pipeline to complement Lala’s robust suite of exceptional products within our protein-based portfolio.”
Mark Jansen, president and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers, said, “Mexico is a key market for Blue Diamond Growers in Latin America and one of the most relevant for the company’s growth. Blue Diamond Growers has been making a significant investment in developing its international business and the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze brand globally.”
Expanding dairy sectors
Grupo Lala released its 2018 Q4 and full-year results this week, and its net sales increased by 9.9% in the fourth quarter. It took hits in year-over-year EBITDA due to inflation and energy costs, but sales in Mexico rose 4.5% and US sales grew 10.3%.
Yearly profits as reported were up by 13.4% compared to 2017, and milk remained the top-earning segment of the business. But increases in other dairy sales (46.5%) and other beverage sales (14%) outstripped year-over-year growth in milk sales (5.7%).
Leyva said, "We are focusing and restructuring ourselves for growth, enabling this evolution by our already started Cultural and Talent Transformation, concentrating our efforts on creating value behind revenue management, innovation and zero-based budgeting to drive a virtuous cycle.”
“During the fourth quarter, we started seeing some progress on margin recovery in Lala's key markets, Mexico and Brazil, delivered break-even EBITDA results for the first time since the acquisition in the US, a material upswing in net income and produced an overall improvement in our working capital indicators at the group level."