Stern Wywiol turns east for growth
ability to provide ingredient blending solutions for customers in
Eastern Europe is helping to buoy its results during a challenging
time for its domestic market. Simon Pitman spoke to the
company to find out more.
Sustained growth has helped to increase the number of divisions in the company from six to nine in the space of the last year few years. And all this at a time when the domestic economy has been struggling against economic ills, leading to disappointing results for the company's operations there.
"The German market has been slow of late, but the increasing growth of operations in emerging markets, and in particular our operations in eastern Europe, has helped us through a difficult period and come out the other end in a very positive position," said Timo Horn, business development manager for the company's Hydrosol division.
Stern Wywiol specialises in food ingredients (of which the Hydrosol division provides stabilising systems and flavourings), chocolate as well as food additives and lipids. Currently it has nine manufacturing locations all located in Germany and exports to over 100 countries throughout the world.
One of the areas that the company has come to specialise in for the central and eastern European region is the provision of research and development applications through its six laboratories in an effort to customise products according to specific requirements.
"Although we are often surprised by the high standards of food products from this region, often domestic producers do not have the resources for in depth research and development applications," said Horn. "Which is where we step in. The group has the means to provide such companies with solutions for exact blends and mixtures for food products. We have the capability to determine the exact blends required, which can be a laboured and very complex process if you don't have the right resources.
"Often these requirements are very specific and vary enormously according to the different markets. For example mayonnaise in one eastern European country might be totally different to mayonnaise in another country. This is down to manufacturers constraints as well as consumer habits. And naturally all of these considerations have to be taken into account. When I visit a new country to take a look at a specific product one of the first things I do is to go to the local market or shops, buy up all the different brands available, then take them back to the hotel room to analyse them for taste and texture."
The bottom line, according to Horn, is that the stabilising solutions provided by the company's Hydrosol division are helping manufacturers in the region to save money, which is always a big selling point in a market driven by cost constraints.
The proof of the success is the fact that the group's Hydrosol division is primarily driven by its custom in the region, with Horn estimating that the Russian market now accounts for 50 per cent of turnover, with the rest of the region amounting to between 10 and 20 per cent.
Horn sums the sentiment up saying, "Stern Wywiol's future now lies with providing ingredients solutions for customers in central and eastern European markets, together with other emerging markets such as South America and Asia.