The FINANCIAL -- Georgian Distribution and Marketing Company (GDMCO), official importer of mayonnaise Sloboda from Russia, ended the year 2013 with 26% sales growth. The tense relations between Russia and Georgia and the recent campaign No to Russian Products did not have any impact on GDMCO’s sales. The final choice on selection made by a store is down to the quality, and not the origins, of a given product.
“2013 was a very successful year for our company. We ended it with 26% sales growth in comparison with the previous year. Georgian customers are offered various sorts of Sloboda mayonnaise: Olivkovi made from olive oil, classic Provansal, Lenten, and with quail eggs. The Olivkovi one is the bestselling product among Georgian consumers,” David Alavidze, Director at Georgian Distribution and Marketing Company (GDMCO), told The FINANCIAL.
GDMCO aims to end the year 2014 with 15-20% sales growth in comparison with 2013. Furthermore, Sloboda received the Golden Brand Award in May 2014.
Sloboda is a brand name of Russian company EFKO. The group is Russia’s largest vertically integrated company producing specialised fats used in confectionery, baking, and other sectors of the food industry. The company is also a leader on the Russian mayonnaise and vegetable oil markets, with well-established brands like Sloboda and Altero.
EFKO produces mayonnaises and mayonnaise sauces for various target audiences, under such brands as Sloboda, Sloboda BioLight, Piknik, Pir Goroy, and EFKO FOOD professional. The group has been maintaining its leading position at the top of the Russian mayonnaise market in terms of production and sales volumes.
The group’s production facilities are located in the Belgorod, Sverdlovsk, and Moscow regions. The production lines are equipped with top-of-the-line European fillers, with a total daily capacity of up to 700 tonnes of mayonnaise.
Sloboda is exported to many countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and post-Soviet space. The Georgian market makes up 2.5% of total export.
“Sloboda is a Russian product. A No to Russian Products campaign was recently carried out in Georgia. Fortunately such campaigns have no impact on our company. There is a strong link between Sloboda and its customers. This has been built by its stable, high quality lasting for more than fifteen years, and of course - its special taste! Hence why consumers trust our product,” said Alavidze.
In his words, a tense political situation will always have a negative impact on any business sector. The Russian-Georgian situation is no exception. “However the specifics of our business have allowed us to avoid such impacts. Our company has always been focused on a high quality of product and service, which are the most important factors in a distribution business,” he added.
Trade is one of the most developed business sectors in Georgia. Alavidze named economic stability, enhancement of consumer purchasing ability and development of import and export as the key factors that have been encouraging the strength of the trade sector in Georgia.
“High level of competition and saturated market are the main problems that companies involved in trade usually face in Georgia,” said Alavidze.
The company’s produce has long won the recognition and trust of customers in various countries.
“The high quality and all-natural ingredients of the Sloboda mayonnaises are ensured by using the unique multi-level Organic-Control quality management system,” said Alavidze.
Sloboda has been regularly receiving Russia’s Top 100 Products prizes awarded to the best national products and services. The Sloboda mayonnaise has been awarded the prize numerous times. Moreover, it has won the national Product of the Year award and the award of Sample Purchase, Channel 1’s independent consumer review show.
“Sloboda is the only product which does not include any supplements. That is why the shelf life of Sloboda is just 1.5 months. Its highest quality ingredients are completely natural. They give the product special taste properties. Sloboda has a very large assortment which comes in different weights: 200, 400 and 800 grams. They are available in small and large-sized glass jars, doy packs and buckets,” said Alavidze.
“I have been involved in the food business for a long time. During these years I have witnessed the transformation of consumer demand when making the final decision in regard to products. For a long time, due to our economic problems, prices were the main factor that decided consumer behaviour. What we are observing now is that Georgians have started paying more attention to the quality of products. Food safety still remains a developing process in Georgia. However, we are optimistic that the situation will improve soon. We still find products on the market that are harmful for people’s health. The upcoming signing of the AA and getting closer to EU standards will speed up this process,” he explained.
The Georgian Consumer Federation has awarded Sloboda a Gold Medal. In Alavidze’s words, the research has shown that the product is of high quality. Sloboda was declared a safe and ecologically clean product.
Out of the total volume of realization in Georgia, the HoReCa sector makes up 5% of our sales of Sloboda.
“The advantage of mayonnaise is that it goes well with any type of dish. It has become the top sort of dressing and a formula for infinite deliciousness,” said Alavidze.
“It is amazing how these bright and exotic flavours dress-up everyday treats like French fries or tuna salad. Mayo is really a chance to push the flavour envelope and have fun with simple home cooking,” he added.
GDMCO tries to give its customers little tips on how to best use the flavours. Management is actively updating recipes on their Facebook homepage. For example, bright flavours stand up well to tuna salad or in deviled eggs. More subtly, it goes really well with chicken or raw vegetables.