An interview with Karol Pilaciński, Export Director at Bogutti on export directions, market challanges, innovations, company’s offer and development plans.
What export results may Bogutti boast? Is the pandemic-related slowdown of growth returning to its previous pace?
The main goal of the founders of Bogutti was international development. In the first period of our operations, sales focused on European markets, mainly Italy, the UK, and Germany. Several years ago, the company decided to start its expansion to non-European markets. Ever since, we have managed to reach more than 20 new markets, from South America to Africa to Asia. The diversification of direction of sales helped the company pass smoothly through the pandemic period. After a time, when the whole world had made a decision to introduce lockdowns, the customers returned to standard functioning. This allowed the company to manufacture without downtimes and to avoid the adverse effects of the pandemic.
The growth of prices of raw materials, packaging, energy, gas, or costs of transport, directly affect the manufacturing cost of products – how do you take on the challenges that manufacturers currently face?
Over the last year, we have seen an unprecedented growth of production costs. The coincidence of such events as COVID, the Russian aggression in Ukraine, maritime transport difficulties, or high inflation, put the manufacturers under an immense cost pressure. On the one hand, the company was pressured by suppliers, and on the other hand, enormous resistance occurred on the part of customers. For a long time, traders would not admit to the thought it was necessary to introduce price adjustment. Starting this process was the most difficult thing. One had to change the customers’ perception. At a moment when the subject of price adjustment reached global proportions, the talks became easier. Tolerance for such measures increased.
Simultaneously, with the process of increases, our company has taken a range of actions aimed at optimizing purchases and production. We have eliminated unnecessary costs connected e.g. with the kind of packages used or the manner of production organization, in order to limit the scale of increases.
Please tell us more about the export offer. What makes the Bogutti products stand out against their competitors on the global market? What do foreign consumers appreciate your sweets for?
As I have said, international development of sales is the driving force behind the company. The production started from typically Italian cookies with delicious creams and from the traditional Polish fudge. We would like Bogutti products to be appreciated for their high quality, taste, and attractive price level.
How do you adapt your offer to consumer requirements worldwide?
Bogutti has been active on the market for 10 years and we have strived all the time to develop and to introduce new solutions. We do not close within the limits of the existing offer. One of our development methods is focus on ideas submitted by our contractors. We always treat such a submission as a challenge to improve our offer.
Are innovations implemented in the offer? What does a foreign consumer expect and do those expectations differ between markets?
According to the adage that standing still means falling behind, we have constantly searched for new solutions, new recipes, new packages. Manufacturers try to surprise customers with new products. Consumers are bombarded from all sides with different offers, new trends and ideas. Thus, we develop sugar-free product lines or those free of palm oil.
Acting globally, we face different customer expectations on an everyday basis, concerning the recipes used, packaging standards, quality issues, or the price policy in the given area.
Which foreign markets are the most strategic to you and why? Will you appear on new markets?
The company’s history is connected with the European market which still remains a strategic area of our operation. For five years, the company has strongly focused on development of sales on other continents. It is worth mentioning Middle Eastern countries where the traditional Polish milk fudge reigns invariably. For many years, the demand has been maintained on a very high level.
We strive to constantly expand the scope of our distribution. Recently, we have visited several industry fairs in Asia, resulting in new contracts. Especially in East Asia, we observe growing interest in Bogutti products and we will surely plan appropriate measures to increase the company’s presence on this market.
What new will appear in Bogutti’s portfolio in the near future?
All the time, we observe the changes occurring on the market and we listen to customer suggestions, which allows us to successfully develop our offer. We have recently focused on sugar-free cookies, since there is a global trend for such products. We have introduced doypack as a new packaging type for our cookies. The string package preserves the cookie’s freshness and enables longer storage. This is particularly important on Asian markets where high humidity and temperature do not favour open products. The next step will be expansion of the offer by single-packed cookies.
The development plans of the company for 2023 and the next years are…
The company has been developing dynamically for 10 years and each year brings something new. The next stage will be expansion of the production and storage areas. This investment will result in increased production and the company will expand its offer by new product categories. I hope we will be able to give more details in the several months to come.
Thank you for the interview.