On April 1, 2023, Sonnländer Getränke GmbH, a subsidiary of Germany's largest food retailer Edeka, will take over Siegsdorfer Petrusquelle. Based in Siegsdorf/Upper Bavaria, Petrusquelle produces primarily classic mineral water, which has been bottled here for more than 150 years, but also soft drinks and spritzers.
Like its competitors Lidl and Aldi, Edeka is thus pursuing backward integration, in order to make itself more independent of its suppliers. Last year, there were bottlenecks in mineral water for consumers in the German food trade because the major retailers had ended their cooperation with some brands because both sides could not agree on a price increase.
As a consequence, Altmühlertaler, one of the biggest producer of mineral water in Germany, left the industry, and sold in June one of their plants to Germany’s leading family-owned brewer Krombacher (inside.beer, 13.6.2022) and another one jointly to Red Bull and Austrian juice producer Rauch (inside.beer, 17.6.2022). Finally, in November, the last site was sold to the discounter Aldi Nord, part of the Aldi Group, which sourced about 80% of its soft drinks and water from Altmühltaler (inside.beer, 10.11.2022).
Lidl (Schwarz-Group), the other large discounter in Germany, has already been active in the production of water and soft drinks for some time and, with MEG, owns the second largest manufacturer of its kind in Germany.
In January, Edeka had to inform its customers that there were "persistent supply bottlenecks due to a unilateral delivery stop by the supplier". The entire PepsiCo line, including the Pepsi, 7Up, Rockstar and Lay's snack brands, was affected. The retailer therefore recommended "to use our EDEKA own brand products as well as the wide range of other branded products."
Last year, however, Edeka had similar discussions with The Coca-Cola Company and only reached an agreement in fall after Coca-Cola products were delisted and the Coca-Cola range was then slashed from a previous 160 to fewer than 100 items.
With the latest measures, Edeka CEO Markus Mosa is expected to reduce Edeka's dependence on large suppliers, who are becoming increasingly self-confident.
Sonnländer has been part of Edeka since 2012, when the wholesale group took over the insolvent Elmenhorster Fruchtsaftgetränke GmbH (Elro) from Rostock. In 2017, Edeka took over Albi, another ailing juice manufacturer, only to close it again a year later and transfer production to Sonnländer. However, the Albi brand still exists and is now the fourth strongest juice brand in Germany behind Hohes C, Granini and Valensina.
Sonnländer today employs more than 450 people at locations in Rostock, Borna, Rötha near Leipzig and Głuchów (Poland) and offers a wide range of fruit juices, nectars and soft drinks, including wellness drinks, iced teas and fruit teas..
According to Edeka, the takeover will help expanding Sonnländer's product range. The Siegsdorfer Petrusquelle brand will also be continued in the future, and all employees will be retained.
Edeka and the former owner, Staatliche Mineralbrunnen AG, have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.