LEMBEKE, BELGIUM — Lotus Bakeries has set a goal to build its Lotus Biscoff brand into a top three global cookie brand. The company took another step in that direction in 2021, growing sales of the brand 15%.

Lotus Bakeries also is seeking to accelerate growth of Lotus Natural Foods through expansion in the international market, innovation and acquisitions. That goal also appears to be on track, as sales of Lotus Natural Foods increased 20% in fiscal 2021.

Overall, net income at Lotus Bakeries in the year ended Dec. 31, 2021, totaled €90.77 million ($103.8 million), up 9.9% from €82.59 million in fiscal 2020. Revenues in the year increased 13%, rising to €750.25 million ($857.95 million) from €663.29 million.

“Lotus Bakeries realized historic turnover growth of €87 million, and Lotus Biscoff has climbed to seventh place in the global cookie brand ranking,” said Jan Boone, chief executive officer. “The enormous growth of Lotus Natural Foods has even exceeded my expectations, particularly the continued growth in the second half of the year. This has further reinforced my conviction that there is still plenty of potential for the Lotus Natural Foods brands. Investing in the future will remain crucial.”

In the first half of fiscal 2021 Lotus said its Lotus Biscoff business benefited from the reopening of the hospitality sector and partial recovery of air traffic in the United States. In the second half of the year the business was buoyed by international markets. Overall, the business experienced double-digit sales growth in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Korea, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada and Australia.

The company’s Lotus Biscoff Sandwich Cookie has been rolled out internationally over the past 12 months.

“This innovation is highly successful, and the cookie has become a firm favorite in the assortment over the past two years,” Lotus Bakeries said. “It is currently sold in 25 countries and is a major booster for Lotus Biscoff’s incremental penetration in each country. In the second half of 2022, a new production line will become operational in the Belgian factory in Lembeke to support the strong growth of the Lotus Biscoff Sandwich Cookie.”

While business got off to a slow start in 2021 in the company’s Lotus Natural Foods business, positive trends emerged the rest of the year.

“This strong recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces Lotus Bakeries’ conviction in the strategy adopted for Lotus Natural Foods,” the company said. “A strategy based on further expansion of market-leading brands and focus on innovations in the UK on the one hand and accelerated international growth on the other. The international Lotus Natural Foods business outside the UK has grown by around 40% and now represents 26% of total Lotus Natural Foods sales.”

Lotus Bakeries said it plans to invest €100 million on capacity expansions in Belgium and the United States in 2022.

“In Belgium, the expansions will come onstream in the third quarter of 2022,” Lotus Bakeries said. “This mainly involves a second dough preparation room. This investment is necessary to provide additional dough preparation capacity to support the further growth of both Lotus Biscoff Cookies and Lotus Biscoff Spread. This also reduces the operational risk of dependency on a single dough room on the Lotus Biscoff site at Lembeke. Also in Belgium, beside the dough room, a new Lotus Biscoff Sandwich Cookie line will be started up.

“In the US, the new investments will be put to use by the fourth quarter of 2022. Capacity will be doubled there, with two new Lotus Biscoff production lines.”

Based in Belgium, Lotus Bakeries has production facilities in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Sweden and the United States, and 21 sales organizations in Europe, America and Asia.