Interview with Magdalena Panasiuk-Krasińska (CCO)04.04.2016
Interview in PortalSpozywczy, 31 march 2016.
How did the meat industry companies deal with the Russian embargo? Will its effects still be felt in 2016?
Magdalena Panasiuk-Krasińska: Companies which cooperate with Russia were severely affected; however, they were able to find new ways of utilizing their raw materials fairly quickly. Currently, companies which sell pork are the most affected by the embargo, much more so than poultry producers. We, as SuperDrob, did not cooperate with Russia to a large extent, so we were not actually affected by the embargo. The areas into which we conventionally have, and still do, expand our activities are western Europe and, additionally, Asian and African countries. We are waiting to see how the situation in Russia evolves.
Poland is the biggest poultry producer in the European Union. 80% of our foreign sales are directed to the EU market. What are the perspectives of expanding export beyond the Community member states?
The fact that Poland is the biggest poultry producer in Europe is not widely known even in Poland itself. Therefore it should first be communicated to all potential markets and customers, including domestic. And there is a lot to be proud of. We are a good producer, there is no doubt about that. We have appropriate breeding and production standards. We boast high quality and efficiency which allows us to reach price levels attractive for foreign consumers.
From our point of view as an exporting country we are perfectly ready to expand beyond the Community member states. While poultry consumption in Europe is in fact increasing, the pace at which it happens is not as rapid as we would expect. Therefore, we are trying to gain new markets in Asia or Africa. It is an enormous challenge. Establishing cooperation with China, Japan or African countries requires, firstly, breaking down cultural barriers and building a relationship. Just the language barrier is a considerable obstacle. In case of African countries there are additional issues of financial security.
Considering all of the above, we need to be given strong support and credibility from the government and the institutions dealing with foreign economic cooperation. Trade missions aimed at achieving tangible effects and establishing contact between interested entrepreneurs are necessary. It would be best if those missions were specialized and limited to a single industry. Access to market data and an assessment of potential opportunities for cooperation with each country would be of great help. This is what I personally feel is the most lacking. I participated in several missions and I had to gather all information concerning the market myself. It is somewhat justified, nevertheless I believe that the entity organizing the mission and inviting specific companies should have a basis for issuing such an invitation.
Is the meat appropriately promoted in foreign markets?
At the moment – not yet. There is not enough going on, too little information about Polish poultry industry, about our standards, quality, products.
Promoting Polish poultry abroad is a difficult and costly task. Different message has to be sent to enterprises (B2B) than to the final consumer.
Business customers need to believe that we are offering a good product, that our poultry is of good quality, that it is safe, that it meets the highest criteria, guaranteeing a leading position not only in terms of volume, but also quality. It is they who will be reaching the final consumer.
The National Poultry Council (Krajowa Rada Drobiarstwa) has undertaken a considerable challenge to promote Polish poultry abroad. In February this year it launched an information campaign „European Poultry – Strength in Quality”. The campaign will last three years and cost over 4 million euro. I hope it will bring tangible effects.
The United States remains an important player in the poultry industry. Is opening the American market a chance for Polish producers?
If the American market opened to us as producers and we were able to get our products certified for a standard higher that the standards of production in the United States, then yes – it would be a chance. It is well-known, however, that the US is interested mainly in exporting their own products and so the condition for them to open their market to suppliers from the European Union is opening the EU market to American products. Such an arrangement would, unfortunately, be unfavourable for both Europe and Poland. The United States is an enormous poultry producer. Their poultry is sold at lower prices compared to Europe, but also produced according to completely different standards.
The competitiveness of our Polish meat would certainly suffer. A customer entering a store does not see a difference between Polish, Brazilian or American fillets other than price. It is therefore a great threat to Polish and European markets.
Does SuperDrob already have any expansion plans related to the United States market?
The plans will be adequate to the possibilities. Until we get the green light in the US and there are definite arrangements on the government level, our plans are irrelevant.
Can we expect any changes in cured poultry meat and poultry products consumption this year? Will new trends emerge in the market?
The consumption of and interest in cured poultry meat and poultry products is constantly increasing. They are healthy, contain less fat and are easily digested. They are recommended by doctors to people with diabetes, heart diseases, at risk of obesity – in short, typical lifestyle diseases. I therefore think that, as a society, we will be moving towards consumption of poultry products at the expense of pork. At SuperDrob we see the need to create an upper segment of cured poultry meat and poultry products. We offer several attractive chicken and turkey product ranges, in both cured meat as well as ready meals categories. We hope they will attract customers not only due to their health benefits, but also their flavour.
We try to offer healthy and appealing cooking solutions to our customers. We have launched a range of ready products: breaded and non-breaded, depending on the customer’s preferences. The products are interesting in themselves – flavour-wise and composition-wise. They include stuffed fillets and meat rolls, something not so easy to prepare at home. They are a part of our constant offer. For Easter, we offered a delicious chicken, stuffed with apples (Stuffed SuperChicken with apples). The product, which greatly pleased us, was highly popular with customers and quickly disappeared from the refrigerators at our outlet stores. We also offer roast chicken breast, stuffed and covered with beacon. We have, therefore, several interesting products to offer, meant to let us all slow down a little. These products are intended to be easy to prepare, healthy, appealing and at the same time something we will eagerly come back to.
SuperDrob S.A. is a dynamically developing company offering new categories of poultry products, delivered to the tables in Poland and around the world. In 2015, it generated sales revenue of PLN 727 million. The company has 3 plants employing over 2000 people – in Karczew and Łódź (two plants). Currently, the construction of a new poultry cutting and processing plant in Koluszki is underway.
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