Launching in the UK this summer, Cadum&Iba is a new name on the lips of UK body care and household category buyers. Its arrival follows French personal care supplier Cadum buying the Iba household products group in September 2007, creating a new force in grocery non-food. The Cadum business was founded in 1907, and today is a household name in personal wash products in Continental Europe. Iba began life in the UK in 1999, marketing innovative premium room fresheners and problem-solving household cleaners based on the promise ‘everything that is good and new,’ and established a firm foothold in a market dominated by long established multi-national giants. Under Cadum’s stewardship, Iba is now an international player, set for further growth, and Cadum is set to come into the UK market. Gilles Nouailhetas, joint owner of Cadum&Iba, spoke to The Grocery Trader about Cadum’s impressive growth to date and the future prospects for the Cadum&Iba Group.
The Grocery Trader – Gilles, we’ve not heard much before about Cadum, and I don’t recall seeing its products in the UK. How big is Cadum&Iba as a business? What proportion of turnover is body care?
Cadum&Iba is a privately owned and operated company, trading across Europe, with a 75m Euros turnover. Body care accounts for 60% of the total turnover, but these products are not yet sold in the UK. Cadum was sold in the UK back in the sixties by Colgate Palmolive, the former owner, but has not been available here since then.
GT – What body care brands does Cadum have?
Our body care brands are Cadum, Bébé Cadum, Cleopatra and Donge Paris.
GT – Which countries does Cadum trade in?
Cadum is concentrated in France, and is a French success story. Cleopatra is a world brand, trading in a significant number of countries worldwide, including Europe and the Far East. It is the number 1 brand on gift packs in Germany and Greece.
GT – How fast is Cadum growing?
Cadum the brand achieved sales of 24m Euros in 2007, a 54% increase on 2006. We’ve seen a steady growth pattern – 3m in 2003, 5.2m in 2004, 8.4m in 2005 and 15.8 in 2006.
GT – Why has Cadum been so successful in France and worldwide?
Cadum is a well-known brand following Colgate Palmolive’s previous ownership, which ended in 2002. We in turn have invested in the brand and added many new products, which have been highly successful.
The last five years of R&D investment have paid off, in particular with our organic skin friendly formulations. Further unique products such as Baby Balm with 20% organic Shea butter and our organic shower gels are being launched into the trade now, and we expect further positive results.
GT – How big is Iba as a business? What household category brands does it have?
Within Iba we have brand leadership in France and Spain on Candles and Liquid Wick products, and in the UK our “local champions” include Liquid Wick fresheners, Optical and Leather Wipes, and of course our food safe odour neutralisers.
GT – Last time we spoke to the Iba side of the business, it was called Iba Bouchard. What happened to the Bouchard brand?
We decided to switch the Bouchard brand portfolio into three brands. The first one, Iba, is our ‘air care’ brand in the UK. We also use the Iba brand across Europe, where it is number 1 in rate of sale on the stand up segment in most countries, making Iba the number four in the category in Europe. This offers our UK retail customers a wider array of possibilities in terms of products to stock, such as the Iba Naturals range.
Our second brand Croc’Odor is the leader in Europe in the food safe odour neutralising segment. We have chosen the international brand name Croc’Odor, and this will be dedicated to kitchen odour control solutions. We’re keeping the identity of our third brand secret for the moment.
GT – What does the name Croc’Odor mean?
It’s a French expression meaning “eating the odour,” from the “Croc” of “Croc monsieur” for example.
GT – What is Croc’Odor’s positioning?
Croc’Odor is the leading European range addressing kitchen odours, based on 100% food contact safe technology.
GT – Is there a significant market opportunity for air fresheners designed for use in the kitchen?
Yes, there is! We’ve identified a new need for these products, which generate 100% additional cash for the category. These products are a proven success in France, Spain and Belgium. In France our kitchen air care products rank in the top 5 of the household market in terms of rate of sale.
GT – Do you see kitchen odour products working in the UK?
Definitely. In the customers where they are on sale, they certainly do well, for a product which is 100% additional to the category. It is certainly not on the usual shopping list! With further NPD investment planned, we expect to achieve even more success in this category.
GT – Just how big is Croc’Odor potentially?
It will need time and consumer education, but it brings 100% extra margin to the category, and could become very big indeed if we achieve the same success here as in France, Spain or even Belgium. We estimate potential annual sales of over £20m for this new category. It’s down to us to develop the category and generate this cash, but we will need strong support from the retailers: we aren’t a big player and complement the big guys by addressing markets they currently don’t.
GT – Going back to the merger, how did Cadum’s purchase of the Iba Group come about? What was the driving force behind the acquisition?
Jean Marie Total and I, as Cadum’s owners, were on the acquisition trial because of our success with Cadum and Cleopatra, and were looking for further acquisitions. Iba was an acknowledged success, and we knew Patrick Quantin, the owner, so we got in touch with him.
GT – How is the integration going?
We’ve completed the French part. There were always going to be challenges, but we’ve mastered those.
GT – Who is the new global management team?
We have put a lot of the key people in place, including a new director and a new Financial Director in France. David Saunders is heading up the UK.
GT – Where is your global headquarters? Where does your new product development happen?
Our global HQ is in the Rue de Bercy, Gare de Lyon, in Paris. Our NPD takes place in France and Asia as well, where we have a R&D center in Korea.
GT – Are you taking on more staff here in the UK as part of the integration?
We plan to take more people on in the UK as the household and body care business grows. We expect to reach more than £20m within five years.
GT – What is your brand strategy for the UK? Will you be offering the Cadum range here?
Yes, we have some very interesting candidates for the UK. Cadum is now one of the big brands in France and already outselling Palmolive. We also plan to launch Cleopatra, which is a premium and very differentiated brand. We believe it would not hurt the UK retail sector to include a premium brand in the health and beauty market, which has been losing value recently compared to the rest of Europe, due to aggressive price promotion and deep discounting.
GT – Which are your bestselling products in the UK?
Our current bestsellers in the Iba portfolio are Croc’Odor, liquid wick fresheners and leather and optical wipes.
GT – Which products are you offering to UK supermarkets, Co-ops and c-store chains?
As well as these products, our big UK launch is Market Day, which keeps fresh foods fresher for longer and is unique both in the UK and in Europe.
GT – What is your proposition for buyers in supermarkets, Co-ops and C-stores – given all the other brands that are available, why should they buy and stock your products?
With our Iba air care range we offer the reliability of a European number four player, with the flexibility of a smaller company. The Croc’Odor control range is already the number 1 in the sector in Europe and brings 100% additional sales value. Finally on the body care ranges, we have already established several best sellers.
GT – Do you have one sales force to service customers in the UK or two, one for each category? Who handles your supply chain?
In the UK we have the one sales team, and are starting to present Cleopatra, but this could change as our business here grows. Our UK distribution is through DMW in Sutton in Ashfield, near our UK offices. They handle our UK storage, distribution and co-packing.
GT – What advertising and promotion are you planning in the UK?
We have plans for TV support for Croc’Odor, which will break next year some time. We’re also planning activity for a new household product, Market Day, this autumn, including chef endorsement, lifestyle and food magazines, mail outs and a special Croc’Odor web site, encompassing advice and product endorsement.
GT – One area the multi-nationals do not address in either body care or household products, but which many UK consumers will happily pay premium prices for, is niche products made with natural ingredients, which don’t harm the environment. What products like that do you offer?
Natural is important in our air care range, and many of our products contain natural oils and extracts. This will be increasingly important over the years, for example with our Iba Naturals air care range. Environmental friendliness is also a key benefit of Iba Naturals. What you breathe in is a growing concern for consumers, and many retailers in Europe are cutting back on the space they give aerosol air fresheners. In the body care sector we are already a leading company in organic formulations, which are difficult to master.
GT – Are you seeing any signs of the tough economic conditions affecting your consumer sales either in the UK or across Europe, or are people cheering themselves up by grooming themselves and cleaning their homes?
It’s difficult to tell – the value of the category has been affected by strong promotional activity by the major manufacturers.
GT – What major factors do you see impacting on your UK and global business over the next few years?
The biggest factor is fuel costs. We’ve seen a 11% fuel surcharge on UK deliveries, and these rises are set to continue, so we will need to plan greater efficiencies. All the indications are that consumers will have less money to spend: our products’ price points make them more reasonable than refills for electrical air fresheners. In body care, discerning consumers will still pay for proven caring, high-ticket products for their children and themselves.
GT – Finally, where do you see your business going from here in the UK?
Based on Iba’s past record in the UK, and with more brand focus and support, we’re set for further success. Cadum is highly focused on its body care products in Europe, and now to lead the way we have major brands to bring to market in Britain, in the form of Cadum and Cleopatra. Watch this space!
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