"Our mission, vision and values have remained unchanged"
The Romanian poultry market is set to grow an Agricola, one of the largest agri-business groups in the country wants to catch the perfect moment to capitalize on new trends. Joyful Chicken and Forest Rooster are two new products that Agricola launched earlier this year and, along with continuous investment in its production units, will preserve the growth rate in the future, explains Grigore Horoi, president of the Group.
In the first part of this year, the growth rate of the AGRICOLA Group's business is maintained at 7%, at the level of the last two years. How do you maintain growth?
We grow due to our differentiating products, especially the slow-growing chicken, segment in which we are market leaders in Romania, with an 80% market share. I'm talking about Joyful Chicken and Forest Rooster. Regarding the near future, we have a serious limitation to the slaughterhouse of birds where the capacity is exceeded. Last year we started an investment project to expand the slaughterhouse, which will bring us more than 70% of the number of slaughtered heads, but due to the technical specifications, this project will only be completed by the end of 2020.
What are the investments of the AGRICOLA Group this year?
Each year we invest around 8 million euros at the level of the whole group. But in 2019, the investment we make at the slaughterhouse of birds raises this total to just over 25 million euros.
This year we also completed an investment of 5.5 million euros in the ready-meals factory, which allowed us to double the production capacity. In 2018 we registered increases of traded volumes by 12%. Doubling production capacity is in this case, an investment for the future - domestic consumption has growth potential, especially if we think about how many exponents of the new generation cook at home on a regular basis. We managed to build a stable business in this segment, with a comfortable margin and a very high exposure on the foreign markets - almost 30%.
It's been one year since you opened a market niche by launching the Forest Rooster. How did your idea come about and how does this product perform?
We had the idea for a long time and we have been pursuing for a long time to launch differentiating products on the market. After a visit to France, the director of the poultry meat division, Tatiana Cimpoeșu, came up with the solution for the implementation of this project. The birds were brought from France, and here we made their home in the woods. On the domestic market, this coquelet is the only refrigerated product in its segment, the rest are frozen. Sales are beyond our expectations: in less than a year, the Forest Rooster has reached a market share of 30%. Clearly, we have attracted new consumers with this product.
What are your long-term goals for the AGRICOLA business?
Our mission, vision and values have remained unchanged. We want that AGRICOLA to be the strongest local brand in the meat industry: to remain in the top 2 chicken producers, maybe even to reach the first place and to consolidate our leading position in the category of raw-dried products, where we perform at the highest level in the last ten years.