The investment was carried out at the company’s complex in Stara Zagora, in Bulgaria’s south, where Gradus launched a new meat processing facility.
Gradus claims to be Bulgaria’s leading poultry meat processor, and said the latest project would allow the firm to add new products to its portfolio. These would comprise sausages and other processed products produced using beef and pork, it said. Owing to the investment, Gradus will take over about 200 new employees at the plant, Ivan Angelov, the company’s co-owner, told local business daily Kapital.
The company’s new meat processing facility is fitted with a total surface of 16,000sq m, and it is enabled to produce about 50 tonnes (t) of processed meat products per day. The meat processor owns a feed mill, hatcheries, broiler farms and a slaughterhouse.
The Bulgarian processor’s product portfolio includes various poultry meat products. These comprise hams, pâtés, sausages and other chilled, frozen and ready-to-use products. Prior to the launch of its new facility, Gradus was enabled to make some 40,000t of processed poultry meat products a year.
New product lines
As part of its project to expand its product portfolio with processed beef and pork meat products, Gradus aims to establish a new brand under which it will market its output in Bulgaria. The new products would be sold under the Az Yam (I Eat) brand, according to Gergana Lukova, the company’s marketing director.
Lukova said the company considered the country’s read meat market as “highly competitive”. Aiming to expand with its new beef and pork meat product lines, Gradus plans to launch a major media campaign. Promotional activities are to be carried out through a number of channels which will include TV, radio, social media and others.
An estimated 184 companies are active in the Bulgarian meat processing industry and, in 2014, the country’s processed meat market was worth about BGN672m (€358m). Local industry players have been trying to establish themselves in foreign markets, but export sales represent only a small share of their domestic revenues. Bulgaria’s processed meat exports are estimated to total about 2.8% of the companies’ sales in Bulgaria, according to data from the country’s leading FMCG report Regal 500.
What is noteworthy is that this rate is significantly higher for Gradus, which exports as much as 50% of its annual output.
In late 2006, Gradus launched a new slaughterhouse in Stara Zagora at an official ceremony which was attended by the country’s then prime minister.
Stara Zagora is located about 226km from the country’s capital Sofia.
Gradus is a family-owned business run by two brothers, Ivan and Luka Angelov. Set up in 1992, the company said its facilities are HACCP-, QS- and ISO-certified.