Polish family businesses have reasons to be proud – many of them have grown into huge enterprises with an international reputation. However, any business that is based on traditional values has lots of enthusiasts attracted by the quality and trust in the brand.
Many factors influence purchasing decisions. The first associations certainly include price, quality, and the brand. However, an equally important element is the origin – of both products and raw materials, as well as capital. The family nature of the business and its multi-generational tradition are also important.
Made in Poland
The origin of products and Polish roots of the business are of great importance to customers. Not only because of the so-called consumer patriotism. There are many reasons. The belief that these products are of better quality and manufactured with greater care is one of the most often mentioned reasons presented in studies on this subject. Another reason is the awareness that by investing in domestic products we support the domestic economy because the funds ’do not go’ abroad.
The SW Research Institute1 conducted a research that confirmed the Polish brand as being extremely important in terms of purchasing choices. As many as 76% of respondents indicated that it was important for them that the food products they buy came from Poland. And 25.1% of them considered it to be a very important factor, and 50.9% as rather important. Whether a given product came from Poland was not considered important by 16.2% of the respondents (of which 12.9% considered this issue rather unimportant, and 3.3% as definitely unimportant).
The Family Business Institute, whose mission is to support businesses with such traditions, conducted research which showed that ca. 92% of enterprises run in Poland remained in the hands of their founders. This shows how valuable they are for the national economy. However, the other side of the coin is that only 36% of them identify themselves as family businesses. The Institute also reports that only 30% of such businesses can pass from the first to the second generation, and only 8% of the successors are willing to take over the business from their parents. In turn, the Family Firms Foundation, referring to Eurostat data, states that in Poland only 40% of companies experience their fifth year of operation. However, the organization points out that there are many companies with traditions because as many as 59% of those established in 1989 have survived.
Entrepreneurs rely on similar research and willingly confirm Polish origin by placing special marks on their products. Some such labels are approved by government departments, other marks are based on affiliation to industry organizations, still others rely on producer declarations.
One cannot ignore the fact that, in reality, when some products or companies are boycotted precisely because of their origin, emphasizing Polishness has a particularly significant meaning. Supporting domestic production may also prove invaluable in attempts to save the economy in the face of high inflation and rising prices.
Polishness – quality certificate
The aforementioned marks or labels confirming the origin have been functioning in the market space for years. It is impossible to list all those used by Polish producers that is why we present only few subjectively selected ones.
Teraz Polska – a Polish promotional sign created in 1992 on the initiative of the Polish Promotional Emblem Foundation. The idea behind its creation was a strive to restore the prestige of the Polish brand. Standing out among other activities of this organization is the ‘Teraz Polska’ competition under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland. The poll aims to choose the best domestic products and services. The voting is carried out in 3 categories: for the best products and services, for municipalities and for innovative projects.
Produkt Polski [‘Polish product’] – is a legally defined mark in the commercial quality Act of farm and food products. It is voluntary to mark products with this sign but in order to use it one has to meet criteria clearly defined in the regulations. The rules stipulate that products must be made of raw materials produced in Poland, however, in processed products it is allowed to use imported ingredients (e.g. spices, dried fruits) in the amount of up to 25% by weight, provided that such ingredients are not manufactured in Poland. Unprocessed products may be marked with the information ‘Produkt polski’ [‘Polish product’] if the production, cultivation or breeding, including harvesting, milking in the case of cows, sheep and goats, took place on the territory of the Republic of Poland. In the case of meat, it is additionally required that it is obtained from animals born, raised and slaughtered in Poland, and in the case of products of animal origin other than meat, that they are obtained from animals reared in Poland.
In addition to official marks approved by regulations or organizations, producers may voluntarily mark products with graphics referring to their origin e.g. the map of Poland, flag, etc. The following inscriptions are also a popular means of identification: ‘I am from Poland’, ‘I come from Poland’ or ‘Made in Poland’. Of course, if it does not correspond to the actual production, the manufacturer must take into account legal consequences as adopting this practice can be considered as misleading the consumer.
The secret of the barcode
The bar code on the packaging tells us a lot about the origin of the product. Goods distributed by a company which is registered in Poland, including goods manufactured by such a company in our country or abroad, are signed with a barcode, the beginning of which begins with the prefix 590.
On the other hand, e.g. for German companies, a sequence of numbers from 400 to 440 is reserved. In the case of Japanese goods it will be 45 and 49, and Chinese – from 690 to 695 and 699. However, if we care about the Polish origin of the raw material itself, the bar code will not be a sufficient source of information. As it has already been mentioned – the code specifies only the place of registration of the company.
How are we perceived abroad?
Poland is a significant country in Europe and in the world. As it turns out – products marked as ‘made in Poland’ have positive associations, and they are also valued.
SW Research conducted a survey2 in which one of the questions concerned associations with Poland. There are many product items listed in it. The first place was taken by John Paul II (57.8%), second by Robert Lewandowski (45.7%), and the podium was closed by Polish Vodka (27%). In addition to the aforementioned alcohol, the product indications also included pierogi (17.8%), bigos (10.8%), Polish sausage (8.8%) and sauerkraut or pickled cucumbers (7.1%).
In Poland, we have a lot of family businesses that are proud of their origin. JBB Bałdyga is one example. The company is a Polish family business that has been operating on the market since 1992. It is one of the biggest meat processing companies in Poland. They base their activity on proven recipes applying at the same time modern technologies.
The capital is 100% Polish, and over 200 products in the portfolio come from our country.
Another example is Mokate – a company that has been run from the very beginning by the Mokrysz family. Subsequent generations continue to develop the business and the strong position of products in their categories. The company has gained a reputation and recognition among domestic consumers and is successively taking over new markets.
BZK Alco is an alcohol producer which emphasizes Polishness even in the names of products. Their portfolio includes Wokulski, Sienkiewicz, Mickiewicz, Słowacki and Kazimierz Wielki vodkas. These are just a few examples. The company is the author of alcoholic products made from the best raw materials; its products are of world-class quality. The company takes constant care about highlighting its roots and origin.
Cukry Nyskie present over 70 years of Polish confectionery tradition. The history of the company dates back to 1949. The company operates in line with the slogan ‘Good, because Polish’, and its goal is to produce healthy products, and actively participate in environmental protection. It is very important for the company to follow tradition and choose good and proven raw materials.
‘Tradition, simple recipes, no preservatives and taste like in the good old days’ – these are our main advantages. If we add more than 70 years of experience in baking cookies and local patriotism, the whole picture will show a place manufacturing products which delight Poles with their taste as best as they can’ – indicates Andrzej Chomyszczak, President of the Management Board of Spółdzielnia Pracy ‘Cukry Nyskie’.
For Spółdzielnia Pracy ‘Cukry Nyskie’ this is very good news showing that thanks to the commitment of its employees, guarantee of the origin of raw materials, excellent quality, Petit Beurre biscuits – one of the company’s flagship products – are more and more often ‘landing’ in the shopping basket of Poles.
The Grycan company can also boast a sweet tradition. It started with a small ice cream shop and a passion for the product. In 2004, as the founders themselves say, their life’s work was created – the Grycan brand – Ice cream for generations. From the beginning of its operation the company has been using family recipes creating traditional ice cream, constantly relying on quality, experience and knowledge.
Family, tradition, brand – these slogans combine the history of many Polish companies whose strength lies in their Polish roots. And consumers appreciate the enormity of work that Polish companies put every day to provide us with the highest quality products signed with the Polish quality mark.
Joanna Kowalska, Editor