Interview with Bogusław Kowalski, President of Graal Group.

Tuesday, 07 June, 2016 Food From Poland 25/2016
Where does the success of a private label brand lie?

Until recently, FMCG manufactures have not seen the threat posed by private label brands. This resulted primarily from the fact that they were identified with poor quality and taste. They were the cheaper substitutes of your favourite brands. However, retailers have noticed the need for changes caused by growing Customers' expectations, so they improved the formula. Recognizing the Customers' growing expectations; both in terms of quality and taste of products, made private label brands flourish. At present, many private label brands offer products which can compete with other brand products.

How does the private label segment evolve in Europe? What are the private label brand market forecasts?

Private label segment in Europe will continue to grow, however, the biggest growth of this category is said to be over now. Initially, private label brands included basic products, the most popular ones (of the economy group), yet today the premium private label brands sector is growing rapidly as well. Nowadays, private label brand products are really good quality products. The reason for this is the Consumer who becomes more aware and he/she expects high quality and exquisite taste in addition to an affordable price. From the long-term perspective, one could risk saying that private label brands will drive out mid-range products of the market; these which are not reasonably-priced and lack the strong brand awareness as well as loyal Customers.

In case of private label brand products, the price-quality ratio is beneficial – is a consumer aware of that?

A growing number of Consumers make conscious and thought-out purchases. More and more of them are aware that the content of brand products and private label brand products might be similar. These Customers who put the greatest attention to the quality of consumed products, thoroughly analyse contents and check if the quality is similar. Obviously, in addition to quality, what also matters is the taste which often determines selection of a product out of several brands. Moreover, there is also brand loyalty which often influences the final decision of the Customer in the purchasing process. In spite of this, the number of people who decide to buy private label products is steadily growing. This is due to increasingly more beneficial price-quality ratio of these products.

Please tell us about quality of GRAAL products.

Our every plant has large R&D departments and we continuously launch new products on the market, which is appreciated by consumers. Our goods are unique due to their quality and safety. We constantly make investments to have our machine park retrofitted, so that we are able to meet these goals. Quality of our products is crucial as it determines their success on the market. Each of our plants has a Quality Control Department. The laboratory is the place where concepts of new products are created and where we work to achieve the highest possible quality and delicious taste. We also guarantee taste repeatability, as it is extremely important for Customers. Due to highly developed automation and perfect work organization, we achieve great results – the product of the highest quality and exquisite taste at an affordable price.

What type of actions are taken by GRAAL with reference to its brand recognition outside Poland?

We realise that brand awareness is very important both in Poland and abroad. Therefore, we have been participating in prestigious fair events for years. During such events we can present the offer of our company and be up to date with industry news. We can also present what Graal Capital Group does and show its respective brands. In addition to aforementioned, we also increase the sum of our exported goods thanks to our sales representatives who reside abroad.

Does the company implement quality systems that confirm compliance with the standards effective in the EU member states?

Of course – each of our production plants has Certificates that confirm quality and safety of the products we make. We hold such certificates as: HACCP, IFS, BRC, MSC; FDA (sales to Russia), AQAP certificate (it complies with NATO standards), GlobalGap, ASC, BIO certificate and ISO quality management system. In addition to the standards imposed by the EU, we also have to meet our internal standards, which are in many cases even more strict. Apart from this, we are audited by our Customers a few times a year.

What are the forecasts for export development of GRAAL products and private label brands?

Undoubtedly, export is of the utmost importance for us – it grows by several tens of percent annually. To a large extent, it is the increase of foreign sales turnover of our company that propels our financial investments. Foreign customers appreciate that quality and safety of products are extremely important for us. What is also significant is the fact that we create the fish market in Poland. Thus, export is our natural way of development. Moreover, we observe that the market is constantly changing and know that we need to change along with it. In order to maintain our strong position on the market, we have to be present in all the areas in which significant changes take place. Foreign markets are just that place at the moment.

Thank you.
Monika Dawiec

tagi: Bogusław Kowalski, President of Graal Group,

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