Angelica Șmil, Agricola Group: “We are on our way to receive the certification for the export to the US”
Starting with “Micii gustosi” (a Romanian minced meat traditional dish, similar to chevapchichi, and the company’s best-selling product on the export markets) and continuing with a variety of raw dried salami, including the famous “Salam de Sibiu”, the company is targeting the external markets by promoting products that follow the old recipes in preparing the meat.
Present already on the German, French and Spanish markets with these type of products, Agricola is targeting now the
US market, as Angelica Șmil, general manager at Salbac SA (a company owned by Agricola Group), confirmed in an interview for EuroMeatNews.
EuroMeatNews: What are the financial results reported by Agricola Group and Salbac SA at the end of 2017 and how do you see the regional market evolving in this year?
Angelica Șmil: In 2017, Agricola Group had a turnover of RON 683.183 million (EUR 146.78 million), up by 5.31% compared to the previous year, taking in consideration the fact that the company exited from GA-Nutriție Animala SA and Suinprod SA businesses.
Salbac SA registered a turnover of RON 124.834 million (EUR 26.82 million), up by 2.5% than 2016. In fact, the real growth stands at 10.5%, considering the effects resulted from the new fiscal rules, applied since June 2016.
2018 looks like a difficult year for the salami producers due to a price rise in commodities, but also from a bad publicity. Fortunately, most of the revenues made by Salbac SA is based on the sales of raw dried salamis with a high content of meat and low on additives. We are predicting a small increase in sales for our company.
EMN: At the end of 2017, you announced your intention to build a pilot unit to develop a research program to eliminate the additives form the raw dried products. How does this project evolves and what other investments are projected for this year?
A.S: The project will be functional in May but we’ve been working on the improvement of our recipes and eliminating the additives from these type of products for some years now. Besides that project, we are considering investments in developing our businesses and improving the productivity in our facilities.
EMN: What is the rate of premium products in the company’s portfolio and what sells better in the export markets?
A.S: Salbac’s portfolio has a rate of 80% of premium (raw dried) products. On the foreign markets „Micii gustosi” and „Salam de Sibiu AGRICOLA” are our best selling products.
EMN: What is the secret behind the success of your „Salam de Sibiu AGRICOLA” product?
A.S: „Salam de Sibiu AGRICOLA” is made following the exact traditional recipe: a minimum 70 days of maturation, no starter cultures, from high quality chilled meat received from certified suppliers. At the same time, a great advantage is given by the technological capacity for raw dried salami at Salabac’s facilities, one that outperforms
any other competitor on the Romanian market.
EMN: How is much does it count the Spanish market for your exports and what is the company’s relationship with the
retailers in this area?
A.S: Spain is our top destination for exports but we have accessed this market through the Romanian distributors present in the area.
EMN: What certification do you have for your premium brands and of what importance are those in promoting your products on the external markets?
A.S: We already have all the European certificates of quality that matter, starting with IFS and BRC (Class A).
It’s true though, that you can’t start a discussion about a potential partnership abroad as long you don’t have these certificates.
EMN: On what other markets do you intend to expand this year?
A.S: Besides Spain, we are also present in the German and French markets but we want to increase our operations in these countries. Meanwhile, we are on our way to receive the certification for the export to the US.
EMN: How important is the brand on a market ruled by the trends given by consumer and to what requirements you have
to respond in order to ensure a bigger market share for you products?
A.S: AGRICOLA brand has become lately a warrant for quality and taste and the consumer's perception is to refer to our
products as a benchmark in a market that gets more and more unpredictable.
EMN: In terms of volume, what was Salbac’s production in 2017 and what volume do you predict to produce this year?
A.S: In 2017, Salbac has produced and sell about 5,580 tons of products. This year we expect to see an increase by 8 to 10 percent.
EMN: What other products are going to be launched this year by your company and to what product range they will enter?
A.S: We are going to focus on the raw dried and fresh range’s of products, especially on those delivered to Horeca industry, but we also intend to present innovative products in order to respect our leadership status in the raw dried segment of Romanian market.
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