Our commitment to providing sustainable value has led to continuous advancement in food processing, benefitting consumers around the world.
Marel is already the partner of choice in the production of high-quality food that is convenient, nutritious, and environmentally friendly. Now we are working towards becoming simpler, smarter and faster at keeping ahead of the industry's needs
Marel achieved 4% average annual growth over the last 5 years. Yet during the same period, the global economy has been sluggish. This has been a difficult period for food processors that have seen a spike in corn and energy prices. The situation is improving, and food processors delivered healthy profits in 2013, which enabled them to strengthen their financials.
There is now a clear need for expansion and modernization in several markets. Marel has both the solutions and capabilities to meet those needs.
Marel's strategy is clear. We will continue to focus on the industry segments of poultry, fish, meat, and further processing. Marel's market position is strong on all continents and our global service network remains a clear competitive advantage. Securing after sales services with minimum downtime in our customers' factories is essential.
Bringing value to our customers also means we increase the quality of earnings for Marel shareholders. Last year, recurring revenues in the form of spare parts and service revenues accounted for 35% of total revenues, compared with around 20% in 2005.
Recent operational results have not reflected our full potential and competitive position. We now strive for operational excellence throughout the organization, with a greater focus on aligning execution with strategy. We have formally launched our refocusing plan with the objective of becoming simpler, smarter, and faster.
We have already taken several steps to simplify Marel's structure and reduce fixed costs. First, we expanded and strengthened Marel's executive team with several experienced and highly qualified Marel managing directors. Secondly, we are streamlining our freezing activities in Singapore in order to focus more on unique products that are supporting Marel's full-line solutions.
Finally, we have simplified Marel's meat activities by merging three business units to better utilize existing innovation and sales capabilities within the company. Those units include Carnitech activities that were acquired last year.
As a part of our new strategy, Marel's organizational structure will be further simplified in order to provide customers with better service. We will take considered steps to combine business units that serve the same customer needs and rely on the same technical capabilities. Our current manufacturing footprint is extensive and widespread, causing both over and underutilization in the system. We will drive higher gross margins through the optimiziation of the manufacturing footprint. Our aim is to surpass EUR 100 million in operating profits in 2017.
Marel is ready for the future. We will continue to expand the boundaries in food processing by constantly securing a strong and steady flow of new solutions to the market that are tailored to our customers' needs. We are firmly committed to the aim of delivering increased value to customers and shareholders. We have exceptional people and we operate in a market with huge potential. Together we are about to accomplish great things.