The FINANCIAL -- Golden Brand winner in the category of favourite sunflower seed company - Maknatuna - promises it will announce a lot of novelties in 2015. The company plans to introduce different types of products to the Georgian market that will give its customers great satisfaction.
Kutaisi-based sunflower seed company Maknatuna was the first company to introduce roasted sunflower seeds for sale in packets on the Georgian market.
After the difficulties caused by the economic crisis and the devaluation of Georgia’s national currency the Lari, which also affected Maknatuna, the company is going to implement an aggressive marketing campaign and conquer the market. However, for the time being the company is the clear market leader - holding a huge 90 percent of it.
Maknatuna does not export its production at the moment, however the Association Agreement, and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), encourage the company to position itself on the European market in the future.
The Kutaisi brand was founded in 2007, and after a huge amount of hard work and commitment, Maknatuna has already achieved its goal and today the whole of Georgia enjoys Maknatuna products.
“At the time there were no available packaged sunflower seeds on the Georgian market, especially no Georgian sunflower seeds. You could find sunflowers on almost every street corner where old ladies used to sell them from kiosks, but they were not packaged sunflower seeds. As there was a free niche on the market we decided to fill it by starting to produce Georgian sunflower seeds,” Tsotne Tsertsvadze, Director of Maknatuna, told The FINANCIAL.
“We started the business with one small installation and now own a modern factory with ISO certification, which is a useful tool to add to one’s credibility, demonstrating that your product or service meets the expectations of your customers,” he added.
Maknatuna has received its second Golden Brand award. Tsertsvadze thinks that the hard work of the employees is what drove the experts to name Maknatuna as a Golden Brand-worthy company.
“We used last year’s Golden Brand in all kinds of PR and marketing activities such as advertisements in print media, Facebook advertisements, TV commercials, and outdoor advertisements. We will continue this year’s campaign with our new Golden Brand award.
“This is our second Golden Brand. Last year we promised to continue the strategy that had brought Golden Brand to us. The strategy was about working ever harder and doing more things for Georgia and our company. We met our promise and this year received another Golden Brand. We will do our best to get a Golden Brand award next year as well,” he added.
From Kutaisi, Maknatuna reaches all the corners of Georgia and offers the people of Georgia its delicious sunflower seeds.
“Now Georgia, and especially Kutaisi, has a strong and successful company, which employs 120 people, is a good taxpayer and most importantly - establishes the Georgian brand Maknatuna. Producing Georgian sunflower seeds is a very patriotic business for us. We are proud of not only Makntatuna’s activities, but all Georgian companies’ activities. Georgian customers are also loyal to local brands and we are grateful for their loyalty,” Tsertsvadze added.
“For Kutaisi it is very important to have such a strong and successful business. We finance and support lots of activities in Kutaisi, and not only there. It does not matter where you start your business, the location does not play an important role. What’s more important is to work really hard,” he said.
“We purchase the raw materials, clean and wash them, prepare and pack them. The Maknatuna products that appear on the shelves are high quality and delicious,” he added.
Tsertsvadze recalls how the founders of the company Dato Pkhakadze and Grigol Gumberidze started the business from scratch.
“Year on year our business has been growing and today we have achieved the level where we have been noticed by a distinguished panel of professional experts who have recognized us as a successful brand. We worked very hard to achieve this success. Only hard work leads to the utmost success and only the utmost success gets noticed by customers as well as industry experts.
“Today the market is saturated with various sunflower seed-producing companies. Some of them are local, some imported. Every year we see new competitors on the market. This is good for the country and this is good for us at the same time. The competitors encourage us to offer better and better products to customers.
“Maknatuna holds 90 percent of the market. Sales have increased but the economic crisis affected the growth rate. The Lari’s devaluation hampered the sales of Maknatuna. However, I believe that not only our company, but the business in general was affected by recent events.
“The business is unhindered today and there are no obstacles. The only thing I would like to see is more support from the Government’s side. I think the Government should encourage local companies who employ local people and who are good taxpayers,” said Tsertsvadze.
Maknatuna offers a variety of products: Ground nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds - of which sunflower seeds are the most popular. “Georgians love sunflower seeds, plus they are very good for the health,” said Tsertsvadze.
Maknatuna is a socially responsible company helping the vulnerable, homeless people, children with leukaemia, and the elderly.
Maknatuna also supports music festivals, is a great amateur and supporter of Georgian sport, organizes photo competitions and also supports strongman competitions.