Icelandic company, Eimskip Holdings Inc, has become one of the major players in the frozen food industry, an industry that was recently cited as being one of the most expanding areas of the consumer market, especially in the US.
Americans, it seems, don’t want to live without frozen food. At least, that’s what a recent survey by the American Frozen Food Institute recently revealed. Since it began in 1953, pre-prepared frozen foods have grown to become an industry worth over $70 billion a year in the United States.
Baldur Gudnason, CEO of Eimskip Holdings and native Icelander, has been capitalising on the modern family’s love for frozen food. His company recently set its sites on the Canadian market, acquiring two of the country’s largest frozen-food companies, Vesacold Income Fund and Atlas Cold Storage Income Trust. With the new acquisitions, Iceland’s Eimskip has become the largest handler of frozen foods in the world.
One of the secrets to the company’s success is its ability to become its own customer. Eimskip generates income by shipping between its vast network of storage facilities. “Normally, 50 per cent of the value of a commodity, by the time it gets to the end user, is transportation and storage,” Gudnason explained. “That’s why we’re interested in being a leader in this industry.”
As Eimskips consolidates its holdings in Canada, their eye has started to turn to America. Gudnason said that the market there is growing at a good rate, around 5 per cent a year, but that there were other opportunities for the company beyond North America.
“In Eastern Europe and Russia, they are still eating a lot of canned food. As soon as the economy improves in those countries, they will start to eat more chilled and frozen goods,” he said.
Baldur Gudnason is 41 years old and got his masters degree in business at the University of Reykjavik. His favorite frozen food is one of Eimskip’s biggest commodities – ice cream.