Mirra Khupenia

Doehler Georgia To Offer “Products Of Tomorrow” To Georgia’s Non-Alcoholic Beverage Industry

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The leading supplier of natural food ingredients to Georgia’s non-alcoholic beverage industry, Doehler Georgia, promises to introduce next generation products and the global food industry’s latest innovations to Georgia.

“In particular we are offering products that combine plant-based nutrition and optimized nutritional profiles with unique multisensory experiences, which meet the needs of environmentally and health-conscious consumers,” Mirra Khupenia, Head of Marketing Department of Doehler Georgia, said.

She also said that modern consumers expect more from food and beverage manufacturers than just naturalness and good taste; they want the right diet to have a positive effect on their long-term health and general well-being.

“Products that support certain vital functions or aspects of health, such as the immune system, gut health or energy levels, are in especially high demand. The food and beverage industry is seeing particular demand for innovations that support general well-being and boost mental health. Accordingly, Doehler Georgia’s local team will offer technological innovations and the latest developments to other sectors of the food industry, such as bakery and dairy products,” Ms. Khupenia said.

Doehler is a global producer, marketer and provider of technology-driven natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry.

Using the best of nature and innovative technology as the company’s starting point, the Doehler portfolio ranges from natural flavours, natural colours, natural health ingredients, a vast range of plant-based ingredients to ingredient systems and end-to-end solutions. With more than 45 production sites, 75 offices and application centers, Döhler is creating value for customers in over 160 countries. More than 8,500 dedicated employees, including 1000 in R&D, are committed to making customers successful.

Doehler has been operating in Georgia for more than seventeen years in the B2B industry. Doehler Georgia’s target segment is non-alcoholic beverage factories, the majority of which have already become its clients.

Q. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Application Laboratory of Doehler Georgia, a number of innovative drinks were created that will appear on the shelves of the markets gradually. Please introduce these products.
A. Last year our local laboratory developed several energy drinks, including those with juice and with various functional ingredients (Boom, VIVA, VIVA Recovery, GT Energy, etc.).

We developed several cola-type drinks and iced tea with fruit flavors.

Also, as you know, reducing sugar content is one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers. We have updated recipes of RTDs (ready to drink) together with local manufacturers. Our technologists in Germany have worked hard to get the same taste, the same mouthfeel and a healthier product, with less sugar and fewer calories.

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More than forty types of aromatic syrup for Georgian craft MIXOMANIA have been developed in the laboratory of Doehler Georgia, which are used in cocktails, home-made lemonades, coffee and tea, ice cream and confectionery.

There is ongoing work on Kombucha bases and sport beverages for both the local and export markets.

Q. In total, how many products does the company have on the market?
A. Doehler offers more than 5,000 natural food ingredients – natural flavors, fruit and herbal extracts, healthy functional ingredients, cereals, vegetable milk ingredients, nut pastes, fruit and vegetable preparations, natural food colors, natural sweeteners and vegetable concentrates, chocolates, malt, coffee and tea bases, and many more.

Q. A Doehler Georgia representative told a local media outlet that during the pandemic many opportunities and challenges were created for the company. Please tell us what opportunities the pandemic created for Doehler Georgia?
A. During the pandemic, the demand for ready products with health benefits increased, for example those products which strengthen the immune system and maintain mental health.

Manufacturers have begun to think about offering new products with nutritional excellence and health benefits to consumers, which has enabled us to develop innovative and complex products in our laboratory, several of which are still being worked on.

With natural raw materials and innovative technologies as our starting point, we always go one step further to create added value for customers and consumers. This is how we bring ideas to life and pave the way for turning smart ideas into amazing products – for unique, multi-sensory experiences and Nutritional Excellence.

Q. How did you manage that despite the increase in prices and the depreciation of the Georgian national currency, the lari, in spite of which your company did not raise prices?
A. Consumer prices for food and beverages increased worldwide in 2020-21, transport services became more expensive, and cost increases in oil, wood, and metal led to higher prices for packaging materials. Due to the pandemic, online sales grew, which in turn increased demand for cardboard. Globally, the cost of electricity and natural gas increased, and thus we got expensive raw materials.

In addition, our business significantly depends on the stability of the foreign currency exchange market, as the bulk of the raw materials are European and the devaluation of the Georgian lari had a negative impact.

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In 2021, we had to increase prices for our partners, but not in proportion to the increase of production costs. We have chosen to reduce a significant portion of the local representation margin in order to alleviate the burden on our partners, so that products do not become significantly more expensive for end users.

Unfortunately, due to the extremely tense international political situation we have not been able to maintain this approach and had to adjust our prices in 2022.

Q. Doehler has been operating on the Georgian market for over seventeen years. How has the company contributed to the development of the local non-alcoholic beverage industry?
A. Yes, Doehler has been operating in Georgia for over seventeen years and supplies 95% of the local non-alcoholic beverage market with raw materials. You can imagine how many sorts of lemonade, carbonated drinks, flavored water, iced tea, energy drink or beer mix have been developed during this time, considering we never repeat a recipe.

Doehler closely monitors world market trends and strives to offer the right product launch idea and international experience to our corporate clients at the right time. One successful example of this is the energy drink Boom, which to date maintains a leading position among energy drinks on the local market.

In addition, Doehler in Germany creates ingredients exclusively customized to the taste of Georgian consumers – for example Saperavi, Georgian pear and tarragon flavors have been developed especially for the Georgian market.

Q. What are the latest trends in the world food ingredient industry and how does Georgia follow those trends?
A. The latest trends include more natural, healthier, more vitaminized and sugar-reduced products, with additional functional ingredients that have a positive effect on health – for example products that improve cardiovascular and the digestive system, have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects, promote mental or emotional health, and reduce stress.

It is popular to use natural extracts, juices and granules of those fruits, vegetables and herbs which are rich in iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins C, D, or B, and other vitamins and minerals.

Our goal is to keep Georgian consumers current with the world trends, and therefore we offer innovative products to local manufacturers. Also, we try to tailor European and American flavors to Georgian tastes. Thus, our partners offer Georgian customers European quality, healthy food and beverages, which in turn contributes to the success of these products on the local and international market.

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