The FINANCIAL -- Gori Baby Feeding Cannery Kula, which produces ecologically clean fruit and vegetable juices, has added a new line to its current range of products. The company has started producing six sorts of sugar-free juices. The company has had 40 percent growth in sales in 2014 compared to 2013.
“Kula is following its initial strategy to be quality-oriented and to produce bio products,” said Vano Goglidze, Director General at Kula. “Kula has added new sugar-free juice products which contain 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. These are apple, apple and cherry, apple and sea-buckthorn, apple and bilberry, quince and apple, and orange and carrot,” he added.
“We find out what our customers need and expect from us and then offer new products accordingly. For example, last year we started producing new compotes which have become very popular. This year we found out that there are about 400,000 people suffering from diabetes in Georgia. Also, there are many sportsmen, people who lead healthy lifestyles and people who diet. For these people it is not recommended to eat refined sugar. Instead they should just eat natural fruit and vegetables. Especially during the winter period, sugar-free juice is very useful for them,” Goglidze said.
Kula was founded in 2009 and entered the market that same year. During the period of its existence, Kula has invested more than USD 42 million in the business.
Gori Baby Feeding Cannery includes several brands at present. The first, Kula, produces ecologically clean fruit and vegetable juices. Another, Kula Baby, produces natural juices for children. There are also Kula Premium, Kula Diabetic, Bio Kula and Kula Kosher.
Kula won the Golden Brand award in the category of favourite brand of Georgian juices. “To build relationships with our customers, and new and old partners, we use our status as a recipient of Golden Brand awards. Customers and partners choose the company according to its awards and certificates. We are very proud that Kula produces healthy and useful products and that this initiative is recognized by different awards including Golden Brand,” said Goglidze.
Q. Kula has increased its sales. Is this because of the new product line of sugar-free juices?
A. We have increased sales by 40 percent. It is not only because Kula has started producing new, sugar-free juices, but also because Kula has entered new market places as well. Kula entered the Russian market in 2013. We have also started exporting to the USA and Canada, England and France in 2014. Sugar-free compotes also contributed to the increased sales of Kula. Russia holds first place in terms of export capacity. Before, Ukraine was the leader, but unfortunately because of the current tense situation in Ukraine, the solvency rate has dropped. People are waiting to see what will happen in Ukraine and are only buying things that are really necessary for living. Also, their national currency has been devaluated.
Out of the European markets, Germany is the leader in terms of export capacity. We do hope that Kula’s products will become popular in the USA as well.
To promote Kula abroad, we participate in three international exhibitions during the year. One is the GULFOOD holding in Dubai, the second is Anuga in Germany and the third one is in Ukraine.
Q. What will the advantages of signing the Association Agreement be for Kula? Do you expect to enter other European countries as well?
A. Kula has been exporting to Europe for several years already, the Association Agreement and DCFTA will not give us any specific benefits. We are already represented in eight European countries and the free trade agreement may help us to enter Italy and Spain as well. Our company was already free from taxation. DCFTA is not only about the Georgian companies. If the European market opens itself to Georgian companies, then the Georgian market will also be open to European companies. I mean, it was open before but European companies had 12 percent rates. Now they will not be rated anymore. So these companies will really become our competitors. As a result we will need to defend our positions on the market.
The state should support Georgian production. Foreign companies take profit away from Georgia and back to their countries while local companies keep it in Georgia. So it is really very important for our economy to support and help expand Georgian production. I think that the Government should help us somehow, like for example by reducing utility fees, and especially for water. So far we appreciate that the Government does not hamper our business and does not involve itself in it. For me it is very important that enterprises are not being closed down and that such things do not happen anymore in Georgia. Business really is free and we can take care of it at our end.
Q. How important is it for the business to produce “bio” products?
A. “Bio” is our strategy and this is how we are going to promote our products abroad. The word Bio attracts many, many customers in Europe as they appreciate its importance for their health.
Kula is oriented on good quality, bio products. High quality and bio products are important for us because there is a deficit of such products on the Georgian market which leads to many health problems and diseases in the population. Our priority is to produce such products that we and the whole of Georgia can be proud of. As for assessing this issue in terms of doing business, bio products are gradually claiming their proper place in business.
Kula’s products are completely beneficial for the health as they are natural and do not contain chemical additives. Kula products are good for children as well. Kula also produces several kinds of products that are recommended for people with diabetes, as the products do not contain sugar. These products include fruit juices, tomato juice, and compotes without sugar. These products are good for those on special diets too.
Bio products are popular not just in Georgia, but worldwide. We consider Georgia to be an eco-friendly country and Kula - a producer of bio products with big potential to find a deserving place in the world’s market.
Q. Kula is involved in different kinds of CSR activities. Why is CSR a priority for the company?
A. Kula implements charity projects at different times of the year. Kula helps vulnerable members of society such as internally displaced people, those in poverty, the Union of Blind People of Georgia and others. Kula studies each case carefully before allocating money to help solve the problems accordingly.