Interview with Małgorzata Cebelińska, Director of Trade Department at SM MLEKPOL in Grajewo.
What are the trends in the global dairy market?
The most significant trend in the dairy industry is the return to natural products, with the least modified composition, barely with an optional addition of salt or enzymes. This is the strongest trend in the food market, which is also developing intensively in our product categories. The second, also strongly noticeable tendency is the interest in products in which producers change the composition due to the occurrence of food intolerances. Lactose-free products offered by Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Mlekpol in Grajewo are a good example here. The growing interest in handy ‘on the go’ packaging related to the active lifestyle of consumers is also worth noting. Mlekpol introduces small packages, packaging with straws or attached teaspoons, which simply facilitate the consumption of dairy products at work, at school or on the go.
Which countries receive the most MLEKPOL products and what are their shares in export?
The export of Mlekpol products has been constantly growing. Spółdzielnia is invariably developing, increasing its milk purchase – last year the increase was approx. 5 percent, which allowed for breaking another record – 1 billion 800 million litres and maintaining the leading position in Poland. Milk consumption in our country hasn’t been growing so fast, and the market is also saturated, therefore we can export this surplus. Our main external market is the European Union, where we send a wide portfolio of products, including short-term ones. Społdzielnia’s products have also found their recipients in South America, Asia and the Far East. Our brands, such as Łaciate, can be found among others in China, the United States, Israel, Algeria, Indonesia and the Philippines. More and more products with long shelf life, but also frozen products like butter or mozzarella cheese are being sold to these markets.
Which products from your offer have a special appeal to consumers in particular countries?
Mlekpol has over 400 products in its offer. Numerous products of Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Mlekpol are recognized all over the world. Iconic Łaciate milk already reaches 6 continents. For example, to China itself in 2018, Mlekpol sent a record amount of UHT milk – about 1000 containers. It was a full assortment of milk in 1 litre and 500 ml packages, with a fat content from 0% to 3.8%, and flavoured milk in 200 ml cartons. Łaciate milk is the third most popular imported milk in China, just after German and Australian products. Bearing in mind our entire export, we can say that the most attractive for Mlekpol’s foreign contractors are milk and creams, as well as milk powders and whey products.
How would you assess the year of 2018 in terms of export? What were your successes in this field?
We finished the last year with the highest export value in the history of Spółdzielnia. The sales volume of our products beyond the borders of Poland has been consistently increasing. Foreign consumers want to consume natural products – following current global trends – that is why they choose Mlekpol products based on the best Polish milk and famous for the highest quality. About 30% of the entire production of Mlekpol Spółdzielnia Mleczarska is intended for export.
What are the Mlekpol’s plans related to the development of export activities in 2019?
Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Mlekpol is a leader in the export of dairy products in Poland. After launching the new milk powder plant in Mrągowo in 2019, we will certainly be able to increase our export volume. This new investment will allow for processing even more milk and whey that are produced in cheese making. It will allow us to provide our customers with an even richer range of products. Many of our trading partners are looking forward to the launch of this investment.