The FINANCIAL -- Marneuli Food factory plans to have 30% production growth in 2015, in comparison with the previous year. The company is in active negotiations over starting export of its production. Last year the company achieved a 25% increase. Together with a growing number of loyal customers, the company is witnessing growing awareness of the population towards the importance of local production.
“Marneuli Food Factory (MFF) has installed several new processing equipments in the factory this year. These will simplify and increase production in 2015. New assortments will be added to the list of products that are being made. The company is in intensive negotiations with its foreign partners in order to start export. MFF will participate in several international exhibitions this year,” Irina Gaprindashvili, Director of Marneuli Food Factory, told The FINANCIAL.
MFF Ltd increased its production by over 25% in 2014, in comparison with the previous year. The company significantly increased the existing format of products last year. New formats and assortments were offered to customers. MFF Ltd issued marinated products in larger packaging, as well as new sorts of Tkemali (plum sauce).
In 2014, the company participated in various international exhibitions. The company attended the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, RigaFood 2014 in Latvia, and in Chengdu, China. It was there that the company established contacts with its foreign partners. Currently MFF is preparing for the new season and is in negotiations over starting export to several countries.
MFF Ltd was established in 2007 and has since turned into the largest food processing enterprise in Georgia. MFF has been a part of Margebeli Holding since 2009.
The purpose of establishing Marneuli Food Factory was to utilize the agricultural potential of Georgia, substitute import with local high quality products, and supply consumers with more natural and healthy food options. The company offers its consumers 100% Georgian products. The assortment includes products of up to 60 different types and formats.
“The major principles of the company are: to cover the full production cycle from the field to the final product; to use raw materials of only local production, as well as implement the highest production standards in the country,” said Gaprindashvili.
Q. Agriculture has become one of the most prioritized industries of the Georgian Government. Which positive steps can you highlight that have been implemented for the development of this sector?
A. We are witnessing big interest in production and processing. On our side, MFF is increasing the harvested area and yield on an annual basis, and employing more and more people in agriculture.
Q. What are the main obstacles for investors operating in the Georgian agro sector?
A. Agriculture is a very complex and difficult field. It requires constant investment for its development. Attracting finances and human resources are necessary during the harvest season. At the same time, agriculture does not forgive you for mistakes. A small mistake may cost a farmer or producer a whole year. The establishment and success of MFF is linked with JSC Healthy Water, a member of our holding. Since 2007 the company has invested more than GEL 40 million in MFF and Marneuli Agro - our agricultural company. The absence of modern technologies and a knowledge base in this field in our country has been the main problem for us. Until now we have been cooperating with foreign partners who periodically visit us and suggest how to accomplish various processes.
Q. The GEL’s devaluation has significantly increased the prices of imported products. Has it therefore brought some positive changes to your company in terms of sales growth?
A. The growth rate of our products has been maintained. However, during a crisis consumer solvency reduces and this has been reflected in the work of the company too. The products which our company produces are for daily consumption. However, we do feel that consumers are trying to limit their purchases. The GEL devaluation did not impact on the prices of MFF products on such a scale as it did on those imported. Accordingly, MFF is still experiencing growth.
Q. What was the impact of the GEL’s devaluation on your company?
A. The company is supplied with local raw materials. Accordingly, it had a positive impact on our daily activities. However, besides the raw materials, other key components, such as packaging containers, are imported. So, unfortunately we did see a negative impact from this side of things.
Q. How patriotic are Georgian consumers, do they generally prefer local products to imported ones?
A. From the very first days of our establishment, we have been greatly welcomed by Georgian consumers. The number of our loyal customers is increasing annually. It is a great incentive for us to develop further and offer better products to our customers. The company has been increasing from year to year, the number of consumers has been growing in accordance. Awareness of the population has been increasing annually towards the importance of strong local production for economic development. So, we can say that while selecting a product, Georgian consumers do pay attention to both its quality as well as its origin.
Q. Which are the main factors that have contributed to the success of your company?
A. Offering products that are useful and of high quality has been the main determinant of our success. The recipes for our products are based upon traditions which we find in Georgian families. Familiar taste, natural and good quality production are what have led to the establishment of Marneuli Food Factory as a successful brand and company.
Q. Why aren’t more Georgian businessmen developing production?
A. Production and agriculture is a very difficult and long-term field. It requires constant investments and development. It is still a young field which will develop much better in the future. Appropriate knowledge and experience will be built up with time. This will then allow the establishment of many other producing companies.
Q. Tell us from your example please, how profitable is MFF?
A. Since the initial period Marneuli Food Factory has been expanding. We think that the project has been successful overall. Accordingly, we constantly continue to invest in the factory and plan new projects. All of this will expand and strengthen our work in the future.