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Putting food into the limelight

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“We generate 90% of our turn-over with lighting solutions for the food retail trade,” says Managing Partner J. Manuel von Möller. “We have focused on retail lighting since the early 1970s.”

Established in 1967 as a joinery, BÄRO specialized in shop fittings for the non-food sector including lamps. In 1971 the company moved to its present site, abandoned the joinery and focused on high-voltage halogen lamps and luminaires for food and non-food business (such as butcher shops and bakeries, telecommunication shops and clothing stores).

In the following years, BÄRO further developed lighting systems and solutions for the retail sector and successfully developed innovative clean air solutions for disinfection.

“In 2005 I joined BÄRO as Managing Director for one year,” explains Mr. von Möller. “At the time, BÄRO was owned by the widow of the founder, and we agreed on a one-year test with the option of acquiring the company step by step, and so I did. I acquired a majority stake in January 2006 and the remaining shares in 2010. Focusing exclusively on food retail, BÄRO has developed positively ever since, and we are convinced that there are more development chances for us at home and abroad.”

The positive outlook is based on the fact that BÄRO has successfully mastered the technological change to LED lighting.

“In 2011 LED lighting accounted for less than 15%,” underlines Mr. von Möller. “By 2013 the proportion was 40%, in 2015 76% and in the first months of this year, LED accounted for 90% of sales. LED lighting is ideally suited for presenting fresh food at its best and most natural. LED is not just light. With LED we can exactly define the intensity, the strength and the color hue to create the right light for the specific product. Moreover, LED lighting provides palpable benefits for customers such as extremely low energy consumption and long service life, and we have the know-how to make all these advantages available with lighting solutions which create a comfortable shopping atmosphere while putting fresh food and other food products into the limelight.”

Owned and headed by Mr. von Möller and his wife Dr. Sandra von Möller, BÄRO employs a staff of 145 and generates turnover of 35 million EUR. Two thirds of sales come from the domestic market and one third from foreign markets.

“We have branches in several countries, including the UK and North America, and we have light planning offices all over Germany so that we are close to our customers,” states Mr. von Möller. “Now as before, Germany is our most important market with double-digit growth rates at present. Austria is stagnating, and Switzerland has low growth rates. There is definite growth in the UK, while Spain and Italy are recovering, just like France. Due to the political situation, sales dropped 50% in Russia and the Ukraine, but these losses are compensated by positive development in other markets, for example the Middle East, a growth market just like the Americas. Business is in its infancy still in Asia where we have secured exclusive sales partners to develop these markets with a big potential for advanced lighting solutions for food retail.”

So far, BÄRO has marketed its clean air technologies mainly in Central Europe. “We are going to further develop the clean air solutions in the future,” explains Mr. von Möller. “There is market potential for the technology, and we are determined to make use of the opportunities. So far, we have mainly developed and sold the systems to the food processing industry for disinfection. Now, there is growing demand from the HORECA (Hotels, Restaurants, Catering) sector, where the systems are used for eliminating grease and odours from the air in kitchens, a new market opportunity for the future. Now as before, we will continue to develop and optimize our systems for the benefit of customers in both fields – lighting systems and clean air technologies. For example, we just launched two series of linear LED systems replacing conventional light-bands with fluorescent tubes, so we can provide complete LED solutions from a single source.”

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