Małgorzata Cebelińska, Commercial Director of Mlekpol Dairy Cooperative, speaks about trends in the dairy industry, foreign markets and export plans for the coming year.
What trends are now in the dairy branch and how is the offer of Mlekpol following on ?
Over 6 of almost 8 billion people all over the world drink milk and eat dairy products, and 81% of milk production in the world is cow milk. The majority of consumers of milk and its products live in the developing countries. Therefore, the product offer of Mlekpol must be adjusted to consumers and their expectations, that is why trends as well as their creation, are an important element of our trade and marketing policy. This subject refers to the entire food market because consumers are consciously building their diet and are looking for such products which allow them to eat healthy food. A very important trend is regionalism, i.e. a proven source of raw material, elimination of undesired ingredients (preservatives, glucose-fructose syrup, animal feed with GMO), ecological production or the care of animals and the environment. Making concrete food choices consumers more and more often take into account such elements as a sustainable development and social responsibility. The above trends drive demand for very high quality milk products which contain organic ingredients and come from domestic suppliers. Certain food preferences result from health tips or other beliefs, sometimes ideological, and they include the elimination of lactose from the diet, vegetarianism or increasing interest in the flexitarianism. Being supported by food experts, who speak about the beneficial effect of milk products on the human body, we view new chances and challenges in these trends.
How are Polish eggs and dairy products viewed on foreign markets?
Consumers in the developed and developing countries want to eat healthy and natural products. The Internet allows us to obtain sufficient information about a product, which translates into concrete expectations towards producers. Quality is only one of choice factors followed by consumers. They pay more and more attention to the origin of products. Our biggest assets on foreign markets are determined by the natural conditions of the region from which milk is sourced. Poland is a country which is still based on traditional and ecological approach to agricultural production. We want other countries of the world, mainly those to which we are exporting milk products, to associate Poland with very good quality and naturalness. The regions where our cows are pastured belong to the cleanest in Poland, and also in Europe. This is land with great natural richness belonging to the Green Lungs of Poland. We communicate this and build social awareness of our products so that Poland is identified with natural origin and very good quality production.
Favourable products of Mlekpol on individual EU markets are…
We are very pleased with the increasing interest of Mlekpol goods on the EU markets which are made on the basis of the best Polish milk sourced from the cleanest regions of the country. Looking at the entire sale of Mlekpol products outside Poland we notice that the greatest interest is enjoyed by Łaciate milk, butter and creams; fermented products with the Milko and Mrągowska brands, and cheese with mozzarella in the lead, in different presentations and packaging variants.
How would you sum up the year 2019 export wise?
Foreign trade constitutes ca. 30% of the whole turnover of Mlekpol. We have a large group of already stable trade partners but the interest in our products is still growing, and new markets are joining, unless turbulences or unpopular political decisions cause different developments. The main direction of the sale of our products are the European Countries, and because of the vicinity, of course Germany, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. However, we keep on developing our activity also in the southern countries of Europe and in the UK. By virtue of undertaken activities and the consistent fulfilment of set goals, we have observed for several years a regular sales increase of our products outside the EU countries. A very important and dynamically developing direction is the Asian market, such countries as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines or Korea are markets which are extremely hard to enter, but simultaneously after carrying out this difficult and arduous work, these are very absorptive markets and good directions for stable development.
What will the year 2020 bring – what are your export plans? What are the directions of development and goals for the following years?
In the coming year we plan to further expand into the Asian, African and UAE countries and extend the assortment of products dispatched abroad. An undoubted support for our export is the opening of the Production Facility of Powdered Dairy Products in Mrągowo, which significantly extends Mlekpol’s product offer with more specialist milk-derived products and whey. An unchanging goal for us is to build recognizability of the Mlekpol brand on foreign markets and our mission is to keep our trade partners and consumers supplied with the broadest range of products of high quality.
Thank you for the interview.