In Brie, in Bretagne, Soreal Ilou creates and produces sauces for catering professionals, food distribution and the agri-food industry. The company markets its products under 4 brands: Ilou represents the range of industrial sauces and condiments for catering and fast food, SoSlice is a sliced topping for burgers, Sonjal Casing is a 100% vegetable envelope for the sausage industry and By Soreal, the company’s flagship brand, is a customised and exclusive white-label range. The company relies on innovation and international business to support its growth.
Innovation, growth driver
Soréal Ilou spends an average of 5% of its annual turnover on R&D. Innovation takes place on several levels: products, packaging, services and production tools. Food diversity, food safety, optimisation of the organoleptic and nutritional qualities of products and the “sustainable development” guidelines for production are all elements that fuel the group’s research and innovation focal points.
With its flagship brand By Soreal, the group offers a bespoke and exclusive white-label offer to create sauces. This accounts for 63% of the group’s business. The Soreal research teams handle approximately 350 cases per year, from collaborative work with its agri-food manufacturing customers and the catering chains (BurgerKing, Golden Brioche, Daunat, KFC, McDonald’s, Buffet Mix, Planet Sushi, Quick, Sushi Shop), according to their needs and constraints. About two hundred are confirmed following a variety of tests used throughout the process.
With 10 to 15% of its revenues disappearing every year, Soreal Ilou has to keep on reinventing itself. The company is increasingly developing ready-to-use cooked sauces, sauces without animal matter (free from eggs) or preservatives, sold with the “Clean label” (list of ultra-short ingredients).
Launched in 2015, SoSlice, the sliced burger sauce that melts in contact with toasted bread and hot meat, is a technological breakthrough. Soreal was, however, the first manufacturer to propose sliceable sauces as early as 1993. At the SIAL Paris in 2018, the company launched a totally vegan, egg-free mayonnaise under its Ilou brand. Soreal is also innovating with its Sonjal Casing brand. This innovative, patented, totally vegetable envelope process can be used in all sausage co-extrusion processes and it is also appropriate for the halal and vegetarian markets.
In fact, 95% of the inputs for production are plant-based.
Simultaneously, Soreal sources as much as possible locally, especially for dairy materials.
Strong international dynamics
Apart from its Brie site, the group is also established in Spain where it is minority partner in a factory (majority partner: Aliminter), where it has 30% of the load plan, and in Egypt, where it has taken over as a joint venture Soreal ME&NA, a manufacturing company based in Cairo (50 employees). Overall, Soréal Ilou has reached a 17,000 tonne capacity with a turnover of nearly €30M in 2018, including 25% internationally, with a portfolio of 500 clients in 25 countries. International business includes export sales from the Bretagne site (17%) and international sales from its Egyptian and Spanish factories. The goal is to achieve 50% of the business, concentrating mainly on Africa and the Middle East. In 2018, the Cairo factory saw an 80% increase in turnover!
Investments and roots embedded in Bretagne
Soreal Ilou does not forget its Bretagne roots, for all that. In 2017-18, the group invested €6M to expand its site in Brie which now covers 9,000 m2 with an additional storage area of 2,500 m2. In 2018, 10,000 tonnes of sauces were produced on this site for a turnover of €25M, an increase of 13%. Fifteen jobs have been created in the last two years to support this growth. They are bolstering the workforce of around a hundred employees. The teams work in three eight-hour shifts on the fourteen packaging lines and the four production lines now installed at Soreal Ilou, to satisfy the 3 million people who consume its sauces every day.
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