(Sahih newspaper2021 was a very special year for small company Sande Gastromat AS. The annual accounts, which were published recently, paint a very clear picture of:
The well-known spice producer, whose number does not exceed three years, has succeeded in increasing its sales volume from NOK 10.9 million in 2020 to NOK 17.7 million last year. Despite the significant increase in commodity costs, the bottom line was very positive: the annual result ended at less than NOK 4 million, an increase of 50 percent over the previous year (see all figures under Facts).
Managing Director Ron Christopher Howedal and the gang managed it all without increasing total wage costs by more than ten percent.
– Profit goes to investment in capacity. New machines aren’t exactly cheap these days, but we see a need for them. We may also have to expand the plant somewhat, Høydahl Sande told Avis.
(The case continues in the context of the facts)
Key numbers GASTROMAT AS
(The numbers are in thousands of kroner. Table taken from Proff.no)
|Total operating income
|Result before taxes
820,000 spice boxes
Anyone who has been following it for a while will likely realize that Gastrogull chip innovation is a powerful contributing factor to growth. Produced in collaboration with Den lille chipfabrikken in Kristiansand, the Gastromat-flavored potato chips were created as a result of an initiative by Gastromat “lovers” in social media, and sales and demand figures have led to media reports across the country.
But Høydahl is also keen to point out that the main product – a small jar of spices – has sold surprisingly well in the past year.
Shortly after I took office in 2020, corona hit, and since people were home and cooking a lot of food themselves, I quickly realized 2020 was going to be a very good year. So we actually advised a slight reduction in the number of cans sold in 2021, but we sold the exact same amount, so to speak, and we thought that was fun, Sandy told Avis.
In total, the small factory in Bolumgata sold nearly 820,000 boxes of spices last year. This would make it the best-selling spice blend on the Norwegian market.
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But it was these chips that stole the headlines. When Gastrogullet launched at Meny Sande on August 27 last year, all 2,300 bags were sold out by 1.30pm. In total, the local store sold a whopping 28,000 bags this year – although the product from the supplier has been selling for longer periods.
Høydahl says interest in the product isn’t just for Sande. The product was sold by mail order and grocery store listings in the first place. Almost half a million cysts must have ruptured. But now there has been a halt in production since before Easter, and there is a serious shortage of bags for sale.
– At least today, I’ve had four emails where people are “crying out” for more, and not only Meny Sande, but other Meny stores say they sell as much Gastrogull as all other potato chips in a week. You see a lot of new products that disappear after a while, but the high sales numbers have been maintained week after week, so there are signs that life is ready, as research in the sand indicates.
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I got good help
With such demand, there is no doubt that it was long and hectic days for the small workforce. Høydahl is grateful to the families and friends who stepped in during the busiest periods, and of course words of praise for the staff.
– Since I started, also during Corona, we haven’t had sick leave at all. They have shown incredible effort.
In addition, the increased production led to more work being available in the co-operative establishments Empus and Bünden Grunt, which Howedal also highlighted.
How do you celebrate success?
– We’re out and about enjoying ourselves sometimes. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that on the fine days I swing by Sande and get the men ice cream, for example. It’s all about giving and taking along the way. There may also be some rewards out and about, Foxy says.
– This takes time
At the same time, Høydahl is considering expanding the workforce. Much depends on how Gastrogullet will be in the future.
– We are not prepared for such a large distribution. We have to try to find another way to distribute it, and in the whole country – we have received a lot of criticism for being a little bit north of Trondheim. But things like this take time. There are still some negotiations with the chip manufacturer on how to do this, says Høydahl.
He’s hoping production will resume in the fall, but at the moment it’s too early to say anything for sure.
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At the same time, the day manager – in the middle of all this frenetic activity – began making plans for another innovation that could develop.
– Recently, someone stopped and took large boxes of spices, which he was going to take directly to the States. We have a lot of that – they just have to bring it in there, because they have famous people in the states who use it for their popcorn. We’ve received a lot of feedback on that. Høydahl reveals that we are in dialogue with another snack supplier.
– So there is great potential here, but we have to take it by capacity. In fact we have enough to offer. We must not forget that it is the original box from which we live.
“I hope we can have some breathing space, then we can invest well and take it from there,” Howedal concludes.
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