Araven Group’s sales abroad have increased steadily throughout its history. A spectacular and continuous increase that has occurred in both the foodservice and retail business lines.
Focusing on the 2020-2023 period, in professional hospitality products -our current Araven brand-, the value of exports in 2020 was 6.5 million euros, and in 2022, 10.5 million (61.5% more). In the same period, shopping transport solutions, which is now grouped together with the visual merchandising line under the Shop&Roll brand, have risen from 10.6 million to 13.2 million: an increase of 24.5%.
The current figures show that 54% of the Group’s production is exported abroad, with a presence in 87 countries on five continents. One of our strategic lines is to consolidate our current markets and reach new ones, focusing on the same key factors that have enabled us to expand: innovation, sustainability and quality.
The year 2008 marked a new stage with the separation of the foodservice and retail divisions. Thus we began a process to offer the best and most complete professional service, which has continued with the incorporation of the visual merchandising company OM into the Araven Group, and the recent reorganization of brands.
FROM EUROPE TO ASIA
Due to their proximity, both geographically, socially and politically, Western European countries are Araven Group’s main customers. France, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Benelux are the most important for both Araven and Shop&Roll; but each brand also has its own market peculiarities.
Araven has a huge number of distributors and is increasingly present in countries that are consolidating as tourist destinations and are therefore developing and professionalizing their hospitality sector.
One of its strengths and growth vector is its strong link with the players in the hospitality sector. It maintains collaboration agreements with different international gastronomic institutions, where Araven’s team gives training courses to future chefs who will later become managers of the most renowned international kitchens: Spain (Basque Culinary Center), France (Institut Paul Bocuse), Italy (Instituto Vicenzo Gioberti), United Kingdom (Westminster Kingsway College) and Belgium (Hotelschool Ter Duinen).
Central Europe (Czech Republic, Poland) and Southern Europe (Croatia, Greece) are also prominent areas, although our food containers and the other references in our catalog also stand out in the kitchens of the United States and Latin America, with special emphasis on Mexico, the Middle East and Asia.
As for Shop&Roll, our shopping carts and baskets are present throughout Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, through distributors and end customers. The subsidiary in Mexico, which also began operations in 2008, also serves Central America and the United States, is particularly important.
THE KEYS TO EXPANSION
At Araven Group we designed and launched the world’s first basket with telescopic handle and wheels in 2005, and we revolutionized in-store transport again in 2014 with the first compact cart, a success that has consolidated us as leaders in the sector, with continuous growth. We are the manufacturer with the most complete range of shopping carts and baskets in the world, with options to equip all kinds of establishments.
Likewise, in the hospitality division, we offer products with a functionality-oriented design developed in collaboration with professional chefs. An example of this is the Araven range of polypropylene airtight containers, which has been on the market for more than 35 years and today continues to be the company’s star product and the most highly valued by kitchen professionals. With more than 2.5 million units sold per year and an estimated useful life of between five and eight years, it can be said that Araven is present in the best international kitchens.
In order to publicize our products, their attributes and the benefits they provide, we carry out intense communication work. We share our knowledge with the sector in order to help develop the business of our customers and strengthen the brand image.
All our products are manufactured in Spain, a guarantee of quality, complying with the most demanding regulations and adapting to the requirements of each market and its certification standards, such as NSF for the U.S. market.
At the same time, our firm commitment to sustainability and environmental care, with recycled items, 100% reusable and 100% recyclable.
OVERCOMING PANDEMIC AND CRISIS
The success of this work can be seen in the trajectory of the last few years, marked first by the health pandemic and then by the war in Ukraine and the exorbitant increase in raw material and transport prices.
As for the hospitality business, covid-driven restrictions in hospitality led to a 30% drop in Araven’s turnover in 2020; however, in 2021 foreign sales reached a record high, which we exceeded again in 2022. This was not just a “rebound effect” in the global economy, but our decisions as a company. Faced with restaurant closures, we renegotiated contracts with our customers and did not increase prices in the midst of the crisis. This policy has allowed us to both retain customers and attract new ones.
The impact of the health crisis has been minor on the Retail business unit’s data under the Shop&Roll brand, as food stores remained open, as a staple sector. Companies slowed down their investments and directed them towards ensuring safety, as opposed to refurbishments and new openings, but also the recognition of our baskets and carts as a guarantee of safety and hygiene helped to close 2020 with slight growth.
Profitability has been greatly affected by price instability and inflation, but we have maintained an optimal service and increasingly consolidated in the different markets.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
In the coming years, our priority is to consolidate our presence in current markets and expand into new ones.
In the search for new markets, Araven Hostelería’s commercial plan is especially focused on Asia, where the development of countries such as Singapore or Indonesia opens up new business opportunities and also makes it easier to increase our presence in markets such as Japan.
In our international expansion we always count on the support of associations and institutions such as the Zaragoza Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish Exporting Manufacturers Association for the Hospitality Industry (AFEHC), ICEX, Commercial Offices, etc…
In order to continue opening markets, Araven continues to develop innovative solutions for food preservation and handling. An example of this has been this year’s launch of 14 new references of square format containers specially designed for the storage of dry bulk food, sauces and liquids.
Shop&Roll aims to consolidate and increase its presence in the markets defined as strategically critical, and as a market of opportunity, it is especially focused on the United States, with products specific to the peculiarities of its market, especially shopping carts for large purchases.
In addition, our retail brand has ambitious plans to grow in the markets where it is already established, with its offer of visual merchandising tools, a national leader.
As of this year, the Shop&Roll brand brings together all of our retail equipment offerings to promote synergies with customers. And, as a fundamental aspect, we have begun to develop differentiated products, with the same features of innovation and sustainability that define the entire Araven Group range. In September, Duplo, the first automatic, modular and convertible pusher, was presented, and other new products are under development.
The R&D&I investment plan, to continue increasing our product portfolio and introducing new technologies, and the sustainability plan, to achieve the lowest environmental impact in all our activities, are the basis for Araven Group to become an increasingly international company.