Tradition of Polish products
It is obvious that the Polish consumer still appreciates the „grandmother’s” quality, ecological and healthy food. So, the food producers adjust to such requirements. Polish cuisine has a very rich heritage. Our history is full of territorial conquests, revolutions and partitions, due to this, the culinary traditions of many cultures have mixed up and evolved repeatedly, resulting in the exceptional and unique tastes of Polish dishes and meals. This fact, in connection with the ecological agriculture as well as the natural semi-finished products and recipes, creates huge, still unexploited potential for the development of trade in domestic food products. As Piotr Gawlowski, Brand Manager of Dawtona stresses – their quality is comparable, very often higher than that of goods produced abroad. An appropriate image, including attractive packaging, competitive pricing and well-organised marketing, shall create perspectives for fast growth.
Polish food products and dishes are valued in the world, among others, due to their unique taste. Created based on tested recipes, they combine many years’ experience and tradition with up-to-date production technology. „For Jutrzenka Colian, tradition makes the value in itself. Brands included in the company portfolio have been present on the market for many years. Products of such brands as Jutrzenka, Goplana or Grzeski have gained appreciation and very good recognition among consumers. Appreciating the value of traditional recipes used in the company’s plants, we do not forget about the consistent implementation of modern technological solutions” – admits Krzysztof Koszela, Director for Export and development of international markets, Jutrzenka Colian Sp. z o.o.
It is obvious that Polish confectionery products enjoy large popularity on international markets. This is caused not only by their attractive prices, but also the distinctive taste and aesthetic packaging. If one adds that they are manufactured by producers of high technological culture and many years of tradition (this is how the Polish confectionery market is perceived), one could evaluate Polish sweets as holding a very strong position, which will strengthen year by year.
The choice of taste of foodstuff is determined by domestic culture and customs. As Krzysztof Koszela emphasises – Jutrzenka Colian, as a company operating in three sectors of the food market – sweets, cooking and beverages, is aware that Poles eagerly reach for products they already know very well. These include: milk chocolate, cream and cocoa wafers as well as Krowka and Kukulka candies, present on our market for years. In its portfolio, Jutrzenka Colian has over a dozen traditional Polish products which can be considered as market hits. Abroad, Mella jelly, the line of filled Goplana chocolates, Alibii candy bars, Jezyki cookies, Vigora universal spice, Appetita spices and Hellena drinks are very popular. The level of interest in products depends on the taste inclinations of consumers in individual countries.
In Great Britain, the USA and Canada, for example, Clue Cookies, i.e. Jezyki and Grzeski are very popular. In the Czech Republic, where the sweets market is mainly targeted towards the sales of wafers, Family wafers, i.e. Familijne, emerged as a hit. Whereas Mella jelly and Goplana chocolates are valued in Israel. The advantages of spices offered by the company are appreciated by consumers from Russia, Belarus, Mongolia or Azerbaijan.
On the other hand, Katarzyna Milc, Junior Product Manager of Okechamp SA underlines that among the OLE! assortment, mainly the marinated button mushrooms enjoy large interest among international customers. But they are also presented in uncommon options – for example, with the addition of paprika and dill. The OLE! brand launches innovative products in the market and presents them in a modern, elegant context, underlining consumers’ opportunities, namely, meetings with friends, visit from unexpected guests or brunch in the office. The confectionary plant, Zaklady Produkcji Cukierniczej „VOBRO” has been producing Polish sweets for over 25 years. Traditionally, they include chocolates, candies and cookies. Since the beginning, the chocolate boxes Frutti di Mare and Wisnie w Likierze (Cherries in Liquor) have been the most popular.
Companies with other profiles have also had rich tradition. For example, Fruktus is a Polish family firm established in 1988. They are one of the biggest domestic producers of cucumbers, fruit and vegetable preserves and mayonnaise. They also produce mustard and excellent dips. Original recipes, both traditional and innovative ones, modern production technology, highly qualified staff – are all reasons that the high quality products at reasonable prices are eagerly bought.
Polish products abroad
Food producers must be flexible and adjust their products to the expectations of individual markets and their segments. Such an approach is a guarantee to international success. Jutrzenka Colian pays great attention to the traditional ways of manufacturing goods, creating original flavour compositions. The uniqueness of Jutrzenka Colian products should be mainly attributed to their natural properties, use of traditional recipes, home-made tastes. All these features contribute to the positive perception of products coming from Poland in the international market. Export products constitute about 8-9% of the company’s output. The producer strives to become an international company, therefore, export is very important for them. “Within our plans for the coming years, we aim to continue and develop of our operations in the eastern markets, presenting high growth dynamics. We are focusing on the development of distribution and placement of our products in various chains. Jutrzenka Colian’s products raise large interest and are successful among consumers of such countries” – adds Krzysztof Koszela.
Dawtona is a traditional family firm, which does not preclude export of products with the Dawtona logo to numerous countries in the European Union. “We also produce many own brands for chains and independent companies in Poland and abroad. An interesting brand, strongly identified with natural food, particularly in eastern Poland, is the Milejow brand we manage, in which an expansion has just been initiated to include the whole of Poland” – says Piotr Gawlowski. Interesting products demonstrating the diversity and simplicity of Polish food include creamy soups of Dawtona brand, with mushroom, broccoli, pea and tomato tastes. The new, 100% natural juices of the Dawtona brand are worth mentioning – particularly the tomato juice a unique, health supporting recipe, which was developed for Dawtona exclusively in cooperation with The Prof. Zbigniew Religa Foundation for the Development of Cardio surgery. Part of the income generated from the sales of this juice is transferred to the Foundation to support in creating the first Polish artificial heart, to develop the\a prototype of artificial ventricles to support performance of children’s hearts.
Looking at OLE! products, we can mainly see their broad assortment available internationally: from onions and garlic, through olives and dried tomatoes, ending up with innovative vegetable mixes. However, as Katarzyna Milc emphasizes, the products are also distinguished by their quality. The highest quality raw materials are used for production in order to meet the expectations of the most demanding clients. Another determinant is also the look of the packaging – unique lids attracting the attention of potential clients, non-standard volumes of the jars, or labels with imaginative instructions concerning use of the products. OLE! products are mainly exported to countries where consumption of marinated button mushrooms and other vegetables are traditional, to countries of well-developed network retail sales. The OLE! Brand is exported to countries such as: Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus as well as Azerbaijan.
The company Czanieckie Makarony exports to countries inhabited by Polish immigrants – mainly the United States, Great Britain, Ireland. “Thanks to indirect distribution, our products can also be purchased in European markets, e.g. Spain. The share of export in total sales for the year 2010 amounted to 2%, at the end of 2011, a growth of 1 percent is planned. In the following years we expect gradual growth, however, we are mainly focused on maintaining and developing the local market” – says Joanna Dybal, A company expert at Czanieckie Makarony.
Products of the Fruktus brand are also available in many European countries, but not only. Important consumers include Germany, Portugal, Russia, the USA, France, Hungary and Canada. Marinated cucumbers are included in the list of the best exported products. Marinated products make up 70 % of exported products. As Ilona Kapuscinska stresses, for example, for a client from France, the company prepares products under the supervision of a rabbi, according to kosher recipes and kosher pessah.
„VOBRO” exports its products to 23 countries in Europe, Asia, America, Australia. Experts estimate that the number will continuously increase, which is a consequence of the good opinion of company products as well as continuous sales efforts.
Quality and safety
Access to the European Union has supported the export of our domestic products abroad and promoted Polish food in foreign markets. The quality of Polish products since our accession to the European Union has additionally benefited from the modernization and construction of modern processing plants. The differences between Polish farmers and farmers from other EU countries have decreased. Raw materials are controlled and come from verified suppliers. The European Union operates within a uniform market. All the Member States have to comply with the same legislation in the area of management of agricultural farms or processing. Therefore, within the Community, all members have to meet the same quality standards. In Polish enterprises the hygienic standards are set at very high levels. HACCP, ISO are implemented on regular basis. What distinguishes us from other EU countries – are manufacturing tradition, old recipes and culinary habits. This national heritage, incorporated into our history, makes a very important element for the promotion of Poland abroad. What is essential for our foreign clients is, a considerable part of the Polish territory is occupied by regions of very low levels of pollution, are ecologically clean and have the opportunity to produce healthy food, for which high demand exists.
The quality of food products is the most important factor for consumers, irrespective of their place of living. Care for quality is the priority of all activities of Jutrzenka Colian. As Krzysztof Koszela stresses, the products offered are monitored at every stage of production and distribution. Control of raw material suppliers and product packaging, technological processes and production lines as well as finished products is carried out. Employees of Jutrzenka Colian participate in training courses which improve their qualifications. Owing to such activities the company can be sure that clients receive products of the highest quality, fully safe for health and compliant with the binding legal requirements.
Jutrzenka Colian implemented special quality systems and obtained a number of certificates which confirm the reliability of the company as well as care for the safety of products offered to consumers. The Company’s plants has in place a system of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), aimed at eliminating risks related to biological, chemical and physical hazards of the food manufactured. The objective of this system is to identify and assess the scale of food safety risk at all stages of production and distribution. The HACCP system provides certainty that the plant has taken every effort for the safety of products and consumers in relation to regulations, good production practice and customers’ needs. The producer also holds the quality management system ISO 9001:2000, which is used as an efficient tool for continuous improvement of the quality of products and enhancement of the company’s effectiveness. Moreover, Jutrzenka Colian implemented the system of environmental management ISO 14001, which is a guarantee the company cares for environmental protection, adequate level of occupational safety and hygiene.
“Due to the export of our products to European Union countries, we have also implemented International Food Standard – the quality standard required by German commercial chains and The British Retail Consortium – the quality standards required by British chains. We also hold Certificates of Compliance with standards, i.e. documents admitting the company’s products for trade on the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian markets. Relevant sanitary services inspect the company, look at production processes, check the quality issues. On such a basis we have acquired the certificate allowing for sales on eastern markets”– says Krzysztof Koszela.
In the company Czanieckie Makarony, a modern laboratory at the plant supervises the quality and safety of products, providing conditions for specialised microbiological and physical-chemical analyses of finished goods and semi-finished products. Additionally, the producer uses a system for metal detection which eliminates the risk of metal contamination. Since 2008, the following systems have been operating in the company: IFS International Food Standard and BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. Both systems meet the requirements of Good Hygienic Practice, Good Production Practice, HACCP, standards of the ISO series, and they are focused on the compliance of products with the European food legislation.
The IFS Certificate, on the other hand, is the confirmation of the quality of Fructus products.
Conducting business operations in a responsible way, compliant with the highest legal and ethical standards is also considered as the company’s success, the result of which is the development of high level corporate culture, distinguishing the company on the market. Proof of this is the Certificate of Fair Play Company 2000, the certificate of reliability.
In order to meet the expectations of clients and gain trust on the market, the company “VOBRO” implemented the quality system ISO 9001, the safety system HACCP as well as the IFS standard. Holding these certificates commits the company to improve their system continuously and to enhance the quality of products. What is important is that certified quality systems are subject to periodical external control by the certifying authorities.
The Company Okechamp holds the IFS Certificate high level and are proud of holding a device for detecting foreign bodies.
One of the Polish systems distinguishing our products is the Programme Try Fine Food (PDZ) which is a tool of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development used for promoting food products of the highest quality. The system “Quality - Tradition”, developed by the Polish Chamber of Regional and Local Products in Warsaw is the national food quality system aimed at awarding food products of high quality. Since 2006 the Foundation has organised the Competition “Poland Now” for Local Products. The objective of this competition is to award products of local character, produced in a traditional way, closely connected with a specific region, unique, with the “Poland Now” Badge of Quality. On the other hand, “Poland Now” for Products and Services is a non-commercial competition oriented towards the selection of a group of the best products and services, both those well-recognised and those unknown so far, which can become an example for others due to their qualitative, technological and utilitarian values. Owing to the Polish Promotion Badge of Quality, companies achieve market successes or strengthen their position.
And how do producers promote their products outside the country?
Jutrzenka Colian uses mainly trade marketing tools on most international markets. Exhibitions in shops are used, special newsletters are issued. Consumers are often offered product tasting at promotional prices. On selected markets the Company conducts extensive marketing actions aimed at raising awareness of the company brands.
The Dawtona company pays special attention to quality, Polish character, simplicity and reasonable pricing of products. As Piotr Gawlowski stresses, appropriately performing information, promotional and marketing campaigns (both inside the company and via governmental or non-governmental institutions – like for example, The Ministry of Agriculture and the Programme Try Fine Food, in which Dawtona has been the prize-winner many times) will contribute to the Polish products’ growing popularity on foreign markets, and next to numerous pubs and restaurants offering dishes of Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Turkish cuisine, similar places offering Polish food will appear. We should therefore speed up and out-distance our eastern neighbours offering similar dishes, before they become members of the European Union.
Promotional activities concerning products of the OLE! brand are very similar to those conducted on the domestic market. However, each of these activities has to be adapted to the requirements of individual markets. Promotional activities carried out on foreign markets include: price promotions, point of sale (POS) materials, competitions, lotteries, etc. One very important activity also includes the presentation of assortments produced by Okechamp (including the OLE! brand) at sectoral international trade fairs, for example ANUGA in Cologne or PRODEXPO in Moscow.
Advertising activities at Czanieckie Makarony undertaken on foreign markets are always carried out in cooperation with local distributors who have the best knowledge of their domestic markets. The company Czanieckie Makarony is present at ANUGA trade fair in Cologne, in Germany, presenting the company products and its technological potential.
“Return to the roots” – is the trend observed both on Polish and on foreign markets. It is demonstrated by the fashion for traditional, old-Polish products. And we, the Poles, have a lot to show off. Polish food meets the EU standards. It is perceived as very safe food, of high taste values and high quality. And the issue which distinguishes us is just what the consumers expect – traditional production methods, old recipes and culinary habits, as well as pro-health properties and selected, natural components. It is difficult to hide that price is also important, which is relatively low considering the very high quality of Polish products. To put it in a nutshell – Polish food makes a good choice!