NestlÃ©, the Swiss food supplier of branded goods, looks set to make a major foray into the own-label market in Europe.
The company is in talks with the Sudzucker conglomerate to buy SchÃ¶ller – a major supplier to the giant German discount supermarket chain, Aldi. SchÃ¶ller produces an ice cream called Grandessa for Aldi’s outlets.
The German ice-cream market is the biggest in Europe and SchÃ¶ller has the second-biggest branded ice cream product in Germany, behind Unilever’s Langnese brand. And it holds the licence to sell the luxury ice cream, MÃ¶venpick.
NestlÃ© would boost its European market share by 20 per cent if the acquisition went ahead. Unilever brands have a 40 per cent share and it is market leader.
A spokesman for NestlÃ© says it was committed to branded goods but admitted there were areas where there was “limited” production for third parties. He adds: “An announcement about SchÃ¶ller is expected soon but at present we have no specific date.”
NestlÃ© is believed to have supplied coffee to Aldi in the past. It also has a joint venture called cereal partners with US company General Mills.
According to AC Nielsen, ice cream sales in the German food retail trade (excluding Aldi) shrank by seven per cent to DM1.37bn (£433m) in 2000. It is thought that own label brands, including Aldi, account for 55 per cent of sales through grocery outlets.