Lassonde Industries (TSX:LAS.A) develops, produces, and markets a wide range of ready-to-drink juices and drinks and frozen juice concentrates in North America. The company is the largest producer of fruit juices and drinks in Canada and one of the two largest producers of private label shelf-stable fruit juices and drinks in the United States. It is also a major producer of cranberry sauces.
Furthermore, the company develops, produces, and markets specialty food products such as fondue broths and sauces, and pasta sauces. It also produces apple ciders and cider-based beverages and imports selected wines from several countries of origin for packaging and marketing purposes.
Focus on quality products
The company offers superior quality products through the efforts of 2,700 employees working in 17 plants across Canada and the United States. Retail sales accounted for approximately 91% of total sales in 2020 and consisted of sales to food retailers and wholesalers such as supermarket chains, independent grocers, superstores, warehouse clubs, and major pharmacy chains and online sales.
For 2020, food service sales accounted for approximately 9% of total sales and consist of sales to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and wholesalers serving these institutions. The national brands of Lassonde are sold in various packages under several trademarks owned by the company.
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On an annual basis, the company’s sales are geographically diverse. About 58% of the company’s sales are in the United States, 41% in Canada, and 1% in other countries. Several products manufactured by the company, such as pure juices, fruit drinks, toppings, tapenades, and pestos are sold in the retail market under the private label of food retailers and wholesalers.
Lassonde also manufactures certain of these products under co-packing arrangements for owners of major brands. Product distribution within the retail market is carried out by the company’s sales team and food brokers whose responsibilities include ensuring that Lassonde’s products obtain choice positioning in retail stores and food service businesses as well as good and sustained promotional support.
Healthy food products
The company’s research and development team is constantly evaluating new trends in the food industry worldwide. It continuously works on developing new products and implementing new processes and new packaging technologies. Lassonde develops and markets healthy food products to meet the growing demands of the population which is increasingly concerned about the impact of food products on health.
In this respect, it seeks to identify new ingredients which have scientifically proven health benefits. The research and development team also works on improving existing lines of products, processes, and packaging technologies. The company works on various projects in cooperation with universities, research centres, and suppliers, both nationally and internationally.
The company uses several industrial processes for the preparation and preservation of juices, beverages, broths, sauces, and specialty food products as well as fruit-based snack bars, which are offered to consumers in a variety of packaging and formats. In addition to juice and drink conditioning technologies, Lassonde uses fruit extraction and pressing processes and techniques adapted to the different kinds of juice desired.
Overall, Lassonde could be a great company to hold over the long term.
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