„Today, Wawel is a beloved brand of the Polish people and one of the oldest confectionery companies in the country. It all began when Adam Piasecki opened his first small confectionery shop” – interview with Robert Okoński, Sales Director of Modern Trade and International Markets in the Wawel company.
It all began in 1898 with Adam Piasecki’s first small confectionery shop. Please tell me about the sweet history of Wawel.
Wawel is a brand with over one hundred years of sweet tradition and rich experience, thanks to which it has a very good position on the confectionery market. Today, Wawel is a beloved brand of the Polish people and one of the oldest confectionery companies in the country. It all began when Adam Piasecki opened his first small confectionery shop. Then, due to the growing popularity of his products and his unique passion, already a well-known confectioner, he launched the first production facility in Cracow. Since 1898, we have been successfully combining the power of tradition with contemporary tastes; we are constantly developing and expanding our sweet portfolio. Currently, Wawel has 2 modern production facilities that meet all necessary standards.
We constantly make every effort to ensure that our products are of the highest quality, only with “Good Ingredients”, and that these satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding consumers while, of course, fitting into market trends.
Please tell us about the quality and safety of manufactured products at the facilities in Dobczyce.
We manufacture our sweets in ultramodern facilities in Dobczyce near Cracow. Ensuring the safety of manufactured products is crucial for us, which is why we use the latest technologies, thanks to which, we not only ensure the highest quality of our sweets, but also minimise the environmental impact of our business. Our facilities meet all standards required for food production, and the very process of production of chocolate products is based not only on proven, but also on innovative recipes. We are constantly improving our products, using the expertise and experience of employees and the achievements of science and technology. Nature is also very important to us, which is why our facilities are equipped with modern systems to protect the environment and have the highest quality securities to protect against uncontrolled release of pollutants into the environment. We also reduce noise emissions, and water and energy consumption, which makes our facilities more environmentally friendly.
How was 2019 for the chocolate industry and for Wawel in particular (also in terms of exports)?
For Wawel, 2019 was a very intense, and fruitful period. We were active in many sectors. We are constantly developing in terms of quality, continuing our pioneering programme: “Good Ingredients”, where we try to change stereotypical thinking, in which a sweet snack is associated with a whole list of unhealthy ingredients and incomprehensible names on the back of the packaging. Recently, there has been an increase in consumer awareness in the chocolate confectionery market, which is important for shaping new trends. We buy more and more consciously and we look for products with good and short ingredients list. Wawel, in trying to respond to the needs of consumers and changing market trends, offers the best quality products with only Good Ingredients – without colouring additives, artificial flavours or the E476 emulsifier. Last year, many new products, in line with the idea of the project, joined our portfolio, and their recipes were subjected to constant expert analysis. 2019 was also the period in which we obtained two important certificates: UTZ for the line of Premium Chocolate Bars, which means that the cocoa we use comes from sustainable crops, and obtaining raw material does not adversely affect the natural environment. In addition, we attach great importance to the origin of the oil used in the production of sweets and strive for sustainable production. Palm oil visible in the list of ingredients of some of our products is 100% certified with the RSPO mark.
Your export plans for the next year, and years to come, are…
Our company is constantly growing and developing, which is also associated with the launch of our second facility in 2017. We are obviously thinking about further investments and planning further increases in employment, and we can also supply the plant with further production lines, and the highest quality technologies and equipment. We will also continue to modernise the processes of preparing raw materials, packaging and sales. Thanks to one of the most modern facilities in Europe, we can combine tradition and development, improving our products in even better conditions. We now think not only about new products that have not been seen before, but also about entering new foreign markets. Of course, Europe is our main target, but we are also thinking about the Middle East, where transport possibilities are equally good. Indeed, we will also further develop markets in the Arab world, where we already have our loyal customers, delighted with our delicious Cream Fudge, for example.
In addition, our new products will soon go to foreign markets, i.e. jelly covered with Wawel plain chocolate, enclosed in a round pastille available in two flavours: raspberry and orange. Our foreign consumers will soon have the opportunity to try 3 new chocolates: Raspberry Jelly, which is an amazing combination of dark chocolate and jelly with raspberry flavour and Party Mix in two variants: Party Mix Milk – a delicate milk chocolate with a high content of peanuts, raisins and jellies, and Party Mix Dark 70% cocoa, which is a combination of 70% dark chocolate with a wealth of delicious additions. There is also our line – No Added Sugar – waiting to be discovered by consumers. It includes, among others, the following chocolates: No Added Sugar Dark Chocolate and No Added Sugar Milk Chocolate, as well as No Added Sugar cocoa flavoured wafers and No Added Sugar vanilla flavoured wafers.
The main sweet export hits of Wawel are…
The great success is the sale of our well-known and hand-made Cream Fudge in Arab countries, which thanks to its taste, boldly faces other renowned foreign products. Cream Fudge from Wawel in the Arab countries is a real bestseller, and the demand for this product is always high, so we strive to preserve the production technique that gives the product the right consistency and delicious taste. We do all this to provide consumers with only the best products. In addition to the already mentioned cream fudge, Dragon Gummies with four variants: fruity, sour, juicy and joghurt and Tofflairs fudge are also popular. These products are not chocolate-covered, so it is easier to sell them in warmer countries. In addition, they delight consumers with attractive packaging and – of course – taste.