Ebro Puleva, the Spanish sugar, rice and dairy products group, is the latest company to distribute the wheat-based products of French company Ebly. Ebro Puleva is Spain's biggest food company and the ideal partner for Ebly as it attempts to make a major push into the Spanish market.
Ebly's products will be distributed by Nomen Alimentacion, a unit of Ebro Puleva, and will initially be sold in Carrefour, Alcampo and El Corte Ingles stores. Other chains are expected to begin selling the products from the first quarter of 2003.
The two companies said that there would be a number of synergies created by the agreement. Ebro will extend its product portfolio and generate additional profits, while Ebly will become market leader in the wheat-based product sector.
Under the terms of the deal, Ebly's products will also carry the Nomen logo in Spain, and this is in fact the first time that Ebro has distributed products from another company in Spain. It is also the first time that Ebly has allowed another company to handle the launch of its products in another country, although an agreement with the Mars group in 2000 means that its products are distributed by that company's Masterfoods division in many countries.
Ebly was created in 1990 by Agralys, the second-largest French cereals co-operative, after three years of research by INRA, the French food agricultural research institute. It is currently sold in a number of European countries, including the UK, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. In its home market the brand is already a popular alternative to products such as rice and couscous, and claims to be eaten in 45 per cent of French households.
Such was its success that the company was obliged to open a new production plant in 1996 to meet the increase in demand. The product is marketed as a healthy alternative to other grains, containing various proteins, vitamins, minerals such as magnesium and phosphorous, and dietary fibre.