Cacaolat comes to Portugal, increasing further the Catalan brand's internationalisation
Cacaolat – a popular chocolate milkshake produced in Catalonia since 1933 – continues to expand its international presence and has now arrived in Portugal as well. Invented in 1931 by Catalan entrepreneur Joan Viader Roger (already the owner of milk factory Letona), two years later it went on the market, becoming the first industrially manufactured cacao smoothie in the world, the company claims. Notwithstanding that its production was paralysed between 1936 and 1950, it went on to become a very popular product in Catalonia, also thanks to a smart communication strategy. Since 2012, it has belonged to the brewery Damm and soft drink producer Cobega, two of the leading beverage companies that founded the Grupo Cacaolat S.L, and the brand is now going through another sweet moment, after a few years of rough times.
Barcelona (ACN).- Cacaolat – a popular chocolate milkshake produced in Catalonia since 1933 – continues to expand its international presence and has now arrived in Portugal as well. Invented in 1931 by Catalan entrepreneur Joan Viader Roger (already the owner of milk factory Letona), two years later it went on the market, becoming the first industrially manufactured cacao smoothie in the world, the company claims. Notwithstanding that its production was paralysed between 1936 and 1950 (due to the Spanish Civil War), it went on to become a very popular product in Catalonia, also thanks to a smart communication strategy. However, in the late 1990s and 2000s, the brand went through difficult times and different owners, and was even on the verge of disappearing. Since 2012, it has belonged to the brewery Damm and soft drink producer Cobega, two of the leading beverage companies that founded the Grupo Cacaolat S.L. Its new production centre in Santa Coloma de Gramanet (Greater Barcelona) has been in operation since July 2013 and the popular milkshake seems to be entering another golden age.
"After having been well received by Portuguese consumers, we want Cacaolat to become a popular product in the market of this neighbouring country", the group's press release said. General Director of Cacaolat S.L., Francesc Lluch, thinks that the milkshake has "great potential" outside Catalonia. Currently, the group operates in 17 different markets around the world and sales outside the Catalan territory already represent 22% of total volume.
Portuguese per capita consumption of milkshakes 3 times higher than in Spain
The company explains that Cacaolat has come to neighbouring Porugal because of Portuguese people's passion for milkshakes. Indeed, their per capita consumption of this type of product is almost three times higher than that of Spain. According to Cacaolat S.L., after the launch of the product on the Portuguese market, the first data available "already show great acceptance of the milkshake for two main reasons: its flavour and the cocoa's intensity".
Cacaolat now available in Portugal in more than 350 supermarkets and 6,000 bars
For its arrival in Portugal, Cacaolat S.L. chose the selling and distributing network Sumol-Compal. Thus, the brand of milkshake is now available in more than 350 supermarkets across the country and in more than 6,000 bars. Cacaolat S.L. stated that – for the launch of the product in Portugal – an outstanding TV advertisement campaign was carried out. The brand's internationalisation strategy continues to bear fruit thanks to an expansion plan started in 2012 which aims to further strengthen the product's international presence.
Cacaolat is first and foremost a Catalan product rooted in this country's traditions
Notwithstanding its high potential with regard to the global market, Cacaolat is first and foremost a Catalan product deeply rooted in this country's traditions. Since 1933, Cacaolat has been selling its milkshake. According to the company's website, it all began with a business trip to Hungary during which the product's inventor, Catalan entrepreneur Joan Viader Roger had the opportunity to try a refreshing cocoa- and milk-based drink which truly inspired him. So, he decided to do something similar on the Iberian Peninsula where nothing like this existed at the time.
In 2012, Damm and Cobega rescued the Cacaolat brand
After having become a widely consumed product in the second half of the 20th century, in 1998 the company was bought by the Italian multinational Parmalat and, later, in 2007 passed into the hands of Spanish industrial conglomerate Nueva Rumasa, owned by the controversial businessman José María Ruíz-Mateos. When the group entered a steep financial crisis, the Cacaolat brand was also affected, and was on the verge of disappearing. The Catalan Government intervened and the campaign 'Salvem Cacaolat' (in English, 'Let's save Cacaolat') was launched. In 2012, the Damm brewery and the soft drink producer Cobega entered into a joint venture to rescue the Cacaolat brand, which was still a very popular product, particularly after it became known that there was a risk of it disappearing forever.
Since then, a lot of effort has been put into enhancing the brand through investment in Research and Development, creating new additional versions of the original product such as 'the 0% Cacaolat' without fat or sugar and the latest 'Cacaolat Upp', a drink for children which adds to the traditional formula cereals, vitamins, calcium and fibre, and which can be consumed by coeliacs as well. Damm has also renovated its beer production plant in Santa Coloma de Gramanet and transformed it into a Cacaolat plant, shutting down the milkshake's historic factory in Barcelona's Poblenou neighbourhood.