On current trends in meat sector, technology, export directions and proecological activities we talk with Marietta Stefaniak, Board Member for Strategy and Development at ZM Silesia.
What are the current trends on the cured meats market? Are they identical on different markets of the world?
A key aspect, if not the most important one, to which consumers pay attention, is convenience. Hence the particularly strong development of the sectors of ready meals and cured meats treated as snacks. “Freedom” after more than a year of isolation connected with the Covid-19 epidemic and the growing pace of life have resulted in time-consuming preparation of meals falling outside the scope of our interests. A today’s consumer reaches for quick and easy solutions, and this is what they expect to see on store shelves.
Quality invariably remains a highly valued factor behind choosing. In my opinion, the most important aspect in the producer-consumer relation today is fulfillment of made promises. Consumers choose quality for which they pay, so they expect this quality from a product, and fulfillment of this promise is the foundation of building a brand and its market position. A key quality factor today is the simplest possible composition of processed products and an environmentally-friendly way of their packaging, with simultaneous preservation of the sustainability required by the market.
How does ZM Silesia respond to trends, both in Poland and on foreign markets? Are consumer requirements similar in different countries?
Promising quality to our consumers, we vouch for it not only with our more than 30 years of experience in the sector but also with full control over the value chain. We are a part of the Cedrob Group, a leading poultry manufacturer in Europe, and our group also has its own pork production, therefore, cured meats produced at our five production units are based on our own resources.
These units are equipped with modern machinery, allowing us to respond easily to the need of convenient packaging of both cured meats and ready meals.
Meals subject to preliminary, time-consuming processing – ready to be quickly prepared and served – have confidently entered global markets. In response to the needs of a modern consumer, we provide a full assortment of coated dinner products – from nuggets to tenderloins or cutlets to medallions. We know that the most valuable thing we can offer to consumers is their time. This need is also addressed by the snack line – with excellent Polish dry sausages, preparation of a top-quality board of cured meats is both easy and pleasant. Dry sausages known as kabanosy are worth reaching for each time when we are looking for a convenient product, easy to take with you and to reach for during the day. For enthusiasts of quick and tasty sandwiches, we offer diverse hams and tenderloins in convenient slices.
On which foreign markets are the products of ZM Silesia available? Which items of the portfolio are the most popular outside Poland?
Our partners are representatives of many European countries. The wide range of our recipients include the Baltic States, but also England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, or Sweden.
Shopping patriotism on one hand, and the belief national cuisines have much to offer on the other. It turns out that well-known and well-liked matured meats from Spain or Italy have serious competition in the form of Polish dry cured meats. Due to different climate conditions, long maturing of hams or sausages was not a traditional Polish method of providing cured meats with long sustainability. In our tradition, we have developed a different method – drying. The cult-following Polish dry sausages, such as żywiecka, krakowska, and especially myśliwska, are not just competing with Mediterranean cured meats now but, above all, they reference the traditional tastes of Polish cured meats, serving as a hallmark of quality and often associated with a Polish brand.
We can see this on the example of geographically close countries, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, or Ukraine. Their expectations and tastes are similar to Polish ones. On further markets, such as England, our consumers are mostly Polish people, but foreign customers increasingly join them too. The most popular type of cured meats in the export channel are the cult-following Polish dry sausages, such as the myśliwska, żywiecka, krakowska, or kabanosy (stored outside the fridge), but also liverwursts, frankfurters, and convenience meals. We sell products under both the manufacturer’s brand and private labels. We are also able to emerge on a market of a given country with an individual line.
What are the plans of ZM Silesia for the future? In which direction will the company develop? Will the products of the offer appear on new markets?
Our direction of operations is strictly connected with the increase in significance of the ready meals sector. Apart from constant expansion of our offer, we modernize our production processes, e.g. to optimize supply chains. With a particular view to export markets, we have launched a method of quick shock freezing of products to improve the supply logistics even more.
We are the leader in the sales of dry products – as confirmed by a Nielsen survey, our myśliwska sausage has become the most purchased product in this segment once again. In the export trade, ambient products obviously remain among the most popular ones – they belong to the premium sector. Caring for the development of the mainstream category in the production of popular, mass cured meats, we utilize polyamide casings, significantly increasing the sustainability of the foods and enabling safe transport.
We bet on modern solutions. We introduce environmentally-friendly packages into the production of ready meals. Our cardboard tray is fully recyclable. Introducing it, we reduce the use of plastic by 85%, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Innovativeness and pro-environmental actions – do they go hand-in-hand in the operations of ZM Silesia?
Modern businesses must not remain in isolation from the ecology-related problems. What matters is corporate responsibility at every level of a company’s operation and its development by keeping up with the changes of the surrounding world. Introduction of new, ecologic, fully recyclable packages fits in with this trend.
We are successfully reducing our carbon footprint through sustainable production – shortening the supply chains and optimizing the process of inter-plant logistics. We know that corporate responsibility translates to everyday life of each of us, hence, during the pandemic, we have introduced cured meats packed in antimicrobial foil preventing deposition of the virus. We wish to be as close as possible to the customers and their everyday needs.