Generation by generation - 30 years of Mokate Group

Friday, 04 February, 2022 Food From Poland 38/2022
Three decades of operations on the coffee and tea market – this year marks the jubilee of Mokate Group. A family company from Silesia is currently active on many foreign markets, achieving great success. How has the market changed over those 30 years? What challenges await coffee producers today? Adam Mokrysz, the President of Mokate Group, is interviewed by Wojciech Szeląg, the host of the Gabinet Spożywczy programme, and Michał Siwek, a Department Director at International Food & Agri Hub of BNP Paribas.
30 years have gone by. Looking back, what were the most important moments in the brand’s development over those three decades?

There have been a lot of groundbreaking moments or milestones in the 30-year history of Mokate. Above all, as a family, we have been building our business for 4 generations. Before that, the company’s name was Mokrysz – from our family name – and it was a very good decision, even a crucial one, to transform it and to rename it to Mokate in 1990. My mother started the consistent building of the company, in Poland above all, but later abroad as well. Therefore, a strong entry to the domestic market was important, especially with a product innovative for that time, namely, Mokate Cappuccino – specialty coffee popular in the 90s. Then we decided to enter the Central-Eastern and Central European markets, i.e. markets of most countries between Germany and Russia.

Have any turbulence or dilemmas appeared in the company during those 30 years?

Sometimes we managed to win, sometimes we learned. The change of the consumption model was certainly a challenge to us. The market changed substantially, other coffee categories developed, including so-called black coffee or other substitutes for cappuccino. Although Mokate had diversified its business geographically and segment-wise, with different kinds of products, we have remained true to our values, which was immensely important to us. The DNA of the family company has been preserved through its presence close to people, close to the market and to the customer. In our opinion, this is how family companies stand out, with known values and with the people behind them. We have created a strong family business, changing our corporate logo from Mokate to Mokate: A Family Business. Thus we have invited other family companies to cooperate. Relations and their nurturing, as well as business development and prospects, exist on the basis of the closeness to people that we have maintained as a family. We have managed to advance from a small local business to the international scale, while remaining an independent family business all the time.

The overwhelming majority of your sales – more than 70% – come from foreign markets. From the Polish perspective, you are present on many quite distant markets, such as Johannesburg or Dubai. What is your recipe for such spectacular success in this international presence?

There is no recipe for success. Certainly, one has to follow one’s own road, be consistent, methodical. Everyone creates their own path, both in life and in business – paints their own picture. I believe it is quite an art to build a fantastic team based on the values and the prospects that propel us forward. Furthermore, it is important to notice market opportunities, to keep up with the changes and sometimes to get ahead of them, creating innovations. We have taken this very road; we had always wanted to develop our business without copying solutions applied by the world’s largest companies, but by creating innovations, both in the area of the product itself and of the package or the business model. We wanted that model to be competitive, to bring some added value, especially for the sake of the consumer. Building a business on the basis of the DNA of a family model, with other families and our associates, is another important issue. Of extreme importance is the internal atmosphere in the company, satisfied people building Mokate with our family for years.

From the viewpoint of your product portfolio, how do you react to the increases in the coffee segment in 2020, especially in the sales of coffee beans, and to the changes of shopping and consumer patterns?

The market changes taking place involve selection of the consumption model. The Polish people have strongly fallen in love with coffee, even though Poland is a tea country. Coffee consumption is growing quickly and determinedly, more and more people are taking delight in different kinds of it. Coffee is a stimulant, a beverage keeping us company on an everyday basis, at business meetings or with friends. Many people believe coffee wakes them up every day, so they drink it in the morning. The model has changed so much that people want natural products, which is why the segment of fresh coffee beans is growing at the fastest pace. This phenomenon will surely deepen. Another fundamental change on the market is the significantly higher amount of coffee drank away from home. Market players who had not been known for coffee have entered this market and created a new group of places offering this beverage.

What investments does the future hold for the company? How will Mokate stand out in the nearest future?

I believe the foundations of the company are crucial. As we have said before, there are people behind every project. We, as a family, care for those people to develop along with us, to have interesting challenges and a common driven perspective. As for the future, we plan the development of Mokate Group on the basis of innovation and geographical expansion. We are consistently building the organic core of our business on the main markets from our portfolio, but also on so-called emerging markets, i.e. those that grow faster and offer good prospects. We invest in the company; all of our factories are expanding just as we speak, we believe in our business and we develop it consistently. Simultaneously, we consider new acquisitions. So all of this boils down to organic growth and acquisition projects. We introduce new products in accordance with the prevailing market trends and consumer needs.

Are foreign partners often surprised when they learn Mokate is a Polish company?

Above all, partners like predictability. They like our business being family-based, built generation by generation. Non-European partners are willing to watch our continent. Poland is becoming increasingly known, building its international brand through famous people and events taking place in our country. Yet we are perceived as the European continent rather than a specific country, both in Africa and in Asia. The important things are the infrastructure, the business model, and a good history. What we have managed to build as a family guarantees what we can achieve together. Thus, the skills, the product quality, the people behind the company, the common possibility of building a perspective on strong foundations – this is what our partners value the most.


Today, young consumers are concerned not just with the product itself, its quality or price, but also with such aspects as fair trade or care for the environment. How do you respond to such needs of the young generation?

Above all, we are aware that the world is changing, that young people will soon make decisions about shopping, and thus decide the future of companies. The social aspect is very important. We are a company that shares its success by supporting different initiatives in our home region of Silesia. Our leading social goal is the popularization of chess in Poland and worldwide. For many years as a company, having a family tradition connected with this game, we have observed that chess is very positive, has many enthusiasts and serves as an excellent alternative to screens and modern technologies. Therefore, we have taken this course of chess development and popularization, we have established the Mokate Chess Academy, we have introduced chess to more than 1,000 schools in Poland in cooperation with the Chess Association, and we intend to continue. Young people do play, we also organize tournaments and invite grandmasters. Additionally, such aspects as care for the climate and the environment are very important as well. As a company, we walk this way; in our opinion, all things that should be eliminated and those which a product should contain are all necessary criteria that have to be taken into account and implemented. This is a precondition for functioning in future business. We rejuvenate our brands to reach young consumers, to meet their expectations and needs.

Thank you for the interview.

tagi: Mokate Group , Adam Mokrysz ,