Teresa Mroczek-Krupa, Commercial Director at ARGO – producer of lollipops and candies – talking with Tomasz Pańczyk, the editor-in-chief.
25 years of presence and a continuous development in the confectionery market – this is a big source of pride for ARGO, a family business. What was the greatest challenge for the company during this period? What were the milestones in the business expansion?
Behind us we have 25 years of consistent and hard work. ARGO in the current shape is a sum of discipline, engagement and perseverance in the realization of strategic production and organizational concepts. The founder of the company is Leszek Argasiński but – as he himself often stresses – winning such a strong position in the market would not be possible without the support he got from his close family and loyal co-workers. In the 1990s we saw the emergence of a great number of companies many of which did not endure through time, market pressure, or the dynamics of change. ARGO also had its problems. However, what is interesting, all the past crises had only a motivational influence on the ARGO team and united it even more. Building such a solid and committed team is a special source of pride for us. What is also vital is that ARGO throughout these years has not lost its family character, and only in a small percentage has introduced corporate standards of management. Thus, we have proven that it is possible to run a modern business while basing it on traditional family values and building its success on those values with a strong team. We are extremely proud of the fact that products of a family company from Łańcut, a town of some 18 thousand inhabitants, are present not only in Poland, not only in Europe, but also on other continents.
Delicious recipes, the highest quality, tasty ideas, affordable price, as well as a smile on children faces and satisfaction of parents – these are chief elements of the philosophy applied by ARGO from Łańcut...
...and they all make up an absolute crème de la crème of the philosophy we have been implementing in ARGO for almost a quarter of a century. A child’s smile and parents’ satisfaction are our priority target. This is the promise we keep by delivering to consumers tasty and safe sweets in affordable prices. For us quality is a pleasant requirement, the recipes – a thoroughly hidden secret, and the taste of our products is a loud answer to the wishes and suggestions of consumers with whom we regularly have an open dialogue. In order to meet the expectations of our consumers, both young and adult, we not only bet on a wide range of tastes, but the quality of our products is also important to us. Safe nourishment is one of the principal rules in our company. We observe this rule by using only natural colouring, aromas, fruit juices and vitamins to produce our sweets. We also gradually expand our offer with pro-health products. This is the way we have been raising standards for 25 years not only for ourselves but also for other sweet producers.
The offer from ARGO is particularly targeted to children. Please tell us how you assure high quality and safety of sweets?
Our conscious approach to the issue of food safety is confirmed by the IFS Certificate on the highest level. Although we have been taking care of high standards in this scope for years, we do not stop developing them. We regularly expand our laboratory base and improve our internal quality control procedures. It is also worth mentioning that we cooperate only with reliable certified suppliers. It is all to assure our sole responsibility on the unquestionable safety of sweets from Łańcut.
What is ARGO’S development strategy for the coming years?
We have a series of investments ahead of us which shall allow us to increase our competitiveness in Poland and abroad. At the moment we are on the final stages of project work which we will implement in 2017. As far as other plans of the company’s development in the following years are concerned, we are strongly concentrating on expanding our portfolio with new surprising products. Our development strategy focuses also on modern communication. We are strongly engaged in actions aimed at improving our dialogue with consumers. Therefore, we use any opportunity to enable such a dialogue, e.g. through our presence in social media. Equally important for our development is the issue of permanently expanding business contacts. A strong position on the European market is not everything. Being aware of the very good quality of our sweets, we boldly blaze trails in various – also non-European – directions.
How important is export in your sales channels? What was the previous year like in terms of export? What are your export plans?
Indeed, export is a very important sales channel for us. Thanks to the regular development and expansion of our business contacts, we can boldly say that our products are already well-known in many places worldwide. We establish relations with foreign contracting parties, above all, during various fairs. It is worth mentioning that – as far as the European fairs are concerned – we have been participating in them regularly for years, and we constantly search for new events where we can present our products to companies from the farthest places of the world. Recently, we have acquired a new business partner from another European country. That is we have entered the Portuguese market. Only recently we have come back from Dubai. But it is not over. The next planned destinations where we are soon going are among others Iran, Japan and South Africa.
In conclusion – what is the present product portfolio of ARGO? Which products will be strongly developed and marketed in 2017? Can we expect new sweets categories in the offer?
At present in Poland, we are the only producer of lollipops filled with chewing gum (GUM POP) and candies in the shape of a bottle with fizzy fillings (COLA DROP’s & LEMONADE DROP’s). Soon, we intend to promote these products very strongly.
As far as our plans for the next year are concerned, we have an ambitious plan to modernize our portfolio, and this plan is already partially being implemented. We will remove several positions with the poorest rotation, and introduce new ones in their place. We can already say that those novelties will be a surprise not only for consumers, but also for our competition. For we plan to expand our offer with sweets which, as on this day, are not produced either in Poland, or even in Europe.
Thank you for the interview.