One of our most significant strengths is the leading product brands in all our home markets. The Group’s strong local brands were supported e.g. with updated advertising and other marketing concepts, as well as product and packaging renewals. The Group’s promise of Nordic meat expertise was leveraged in the marketing of the Swedish Scan® and the Finnish HK® brand. Consequently our market position remained strong across all home markets.
Implementation of the strategy advanced and we took important steps towards our goal of profitable growth. We strengthened our operations in our close-by markets, e.g. in Great Britain, where we renewed our offering. A sales company serving our Asian business was opened in Hong Kong. The good development of the Biotech business line established at the end of 2014 continued.
In line with our strategy, we invested in areas that clearly support the Group’s growth targets. Last year we decided on HKScan’s biggest investment project in recent history – construction of a production facility specialising in poultry products, in Rauma, Finland.
The two efficiency improvement programmes successfully implemented during the last strategy period have strengthened the Group-wide culture of continuous improvement. This was visible in, among others, the operational efficiency improvements in production and in the supply chain that were executed during the year. We developed wellbeing at work and personnel engagement by focusing on three areas: leadership, employee wellbeing and workplace safety, and a more unified corporate culture. The action plans stemming from the results of the Group-wide Employee Engagement Survey advanced during the past year. Additionally, we launched a training programme for leaders and specialists in order to strengthen leadership skills and to deepen professional expertise.
Going to year 2016, food and cooking are of interest to an increasing number of consumers, and changing food trends are inspiring the media, industry players and consumers maybe more than ever. HKScan is very well positioned to drive the food culture tradition forward, with our broad product portfolio and recognized Nordic meat expertise.
Despite the current economic and political uncertainty, we see multiple positive long-term trends and market drivers in the business environment which support the consistent progress in our strategy implementation. The global consumption of meat is continuing to steadily increase as consumer buying power strengthens in developing markets. Demand for poultry products is growing, and convenience foods and semi-finished products that make daily living easier are becoming more and more popular.
The importance of corporate responsibility is increasing, which will strengthen HKScan’s position also beyond its home markets. Sustainable operations are a cornerstone of HKScan’s strategy. Corporate responsibility is integrated into all areas of the Group’s operations and is systematically developed in accordance with HKScan’s corporate responsibility programme.
The now proven ability of HKScan’s personnel and management to carry out targeted measures in the midst of internal restructuring and cultural change – and also at a time when the operating environment has become significantly more difficult – gives me strong reason to believe that the implementation of HKScan’s strategy will continue successfully also in 2016. This year we are moving forward with optimism and solid footing on a path of development and improved performance.