Store brands juice up sales at Lassonde

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Just as private brands recently helped juice annual sales at Lassonde Industries, the juice company has reported strong first-quarter earnings, attributing a sales increase of $22.2 million for the quarter “largely due” to a jump in sales in its private label products.

Quebec-based Lassonde Industries reported Q1 sales up 17.1%, year over year, posting sales of $472.4 million. Excluding the $44.1 million in sales from its acquisition of Sun-Rype in January, sales were up 5.5%, year over year. Lassonde Industries is a North American leader in ready-to-drink juices and drinks, the largest producer of fruit and vegetable juices and drinks in Canada, and one of the two largest producers of store brand shelf-stable fruit juices and drinks in the United States. 

Lassonde is featured in Store Brands’ March issue beverage report where Josianne Légaré, senior vice president of U.S. sales, said the company’s hottest flavors include ginger, mango, passionfruit and tart cherry juices. “They all offer specific health-related benefits and are considered superfoods,” Légaré said. “They are all growing rapidly in the juice category.”

The company's operating profit for the first quarter of 2020 totaled $30.3 million, up $6.9 million from $23.4 million in operating profit in the same quarter last year. The 2020 first-quarter profit attributable to Lassonde's shareholders totaled $22.9 million, up $10.3 million year over year.

Lassonde believes that the pandemic could be impacting overall sales gains but said the first-quarter increase in sales “was largely due to an increase in sales of private label products.”

Nathalie Lassonde, chief executive officer said: "The pandemic has affected our business in many ways, and it is still difficult to estimate all of the consequences. We will strive to meet the demand for our products while maintaining a safe environment for all employees according to the recommendations made by the public health authorities."

Lassonde continued saying sales have risen significantly in the quarter, "but it is difficult to assess the impact that consumer accumulation of food reserves has had on our sales volumes. We would like to draw very special attention to the dedication shown by our employees during this difficult period.”