The FINANCIAL -- Georgian bakery Ipkli recently won a Golden Brand Award for its achievements in bread and pastry production. Director of the company Aris Bochoidze says that this year will be even more productive for Ipkli as new products will be introduced and distribution will improve.
“We are already working on several directions to make our products more diverse and affordable for our consumers,” said Bochoidze. “Sales of Ipkli bread increased 10-12 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. The increase in sales showed us that it was necessary to increase production,” he said.
“As for the distribution network, Ipkli is represented in the capital Tbilisi as well as in Gori, Rustavi, Mtskheta and now in Kutaisi. Ipkli bread is sold in almost every supermarket chain in the country – Nikora, Carrefour, Spar, Ioli, and Foodmart. In the nearest future our distribution network will also cover the Black Sea resort towns of Batumi and Kobuleti,” he added.
Golden Brand experts and Georgian customers named Ipkli the number one bakery in Georgia. Bochoidze believes that this recognition is the result of the high standards of the Ipkli factory and the high quality of Ipkli bread.
“The history of our company began in 1993 when several purposeful employees established a small bakery. As of today, our company employs about 300 people, while our factory is one of the best in Transcaucasia. We have passed through challenging and hard periods and today Ipkli is positioned as the number one bakery in the country,” said Bochoidze.
Ipkli currently offers a wide assortment to customers. Traditional types of bread, specifically white bread loaves, are the top-selling product, followed by black loaf, rye and bran bread, Latvian black bread and ‘Ekonombatoni’ white bread. Ipkli produces about 35 sorts of bread and 40 confectionery products, of which the most popular is Batoni bread.
Q. Ipkli started the year 2018 very actively. We are already seeing new products on the market, for example your Ekonombatoni bread which is priced at GEL 0.70 and which is baked using different technology. Can you please give us a description of Ipkli’s new products?
A. Last year we created interesting and unfamiliar products for the Georgian market such as diet bread ‘Naturamo’ and 80% rye bread. Both products have already won their own loyal customer bases.
As for the Ekonombatoni bread, it is the lowest-costing sliced and packaged bread on the market. We offered this product as there was high demand for it. Ekonombatoni is the only bread in Georgia which is sliced, packaged and which doesn’t exceed GEL 0.70 in price.
Q. Which is the most popular Ipkli product and why?
A. White Batoni bread is the most in demand on the market. The first Batoni bread was baked by Ipkli in 1994. This bread became much loved by customers almost immediately.
Today it is the most popular bread in Georgia and other producers also bake this bread. We are glad that Ipkli’s contribution to introducing and making Batoni bread popular has been so significant.
Q. Ipkli opened the doors of its factory to visitors last year and it seems that many people have shown an interest in visiting the factory since then. Could you please tell us how many visitors you have had so far?
A. Our renewed European factory has grabbed everyone’s attention. So far we have hosted about 1,000 visitors, including schoolchildren, who are our favourite guests. As part of their curriculum, students also visit our factory.
General public tours of our factory are held every Thursday and we are ready to host all interested parties. Our employees guide the tours while our chief technologist demonstrates and explains all of the processes to visitors.
Q. Ipkli has been operating on the Georgian market for many years already. What is the contribution of Ipkli to the developed bread market in Georgia? What innovative ideas or technologies has Ipkli introduced to the market?
A. Ipkli is one of Georgia’s largest bakery and pastry producers. Accordingly, we often determine trends in this industry, such as Batoni bread for example.
In early 2016 we started producing bread by using the classic sponge-and-dough method, where fermented starter is involved instead of rapid baking with a no-time dough process. For as long as we remember, to bake bread people in Georgia used sourdough, natural yeast or fermented starter using only a very small amount of bakers’ fresh yeast.
Until the ‘90s this method was used not only in the home setting, but also in industrial bakeries. After the ‘90s, due to a lack of technologies and knowledge, and partially to cut production costs, industries as well as people in Georgia started using rapid processing methods in which the baking process was reduced from the original 6-12 to only two hours. All of this made the bread in our country flavourless and less tasty.
Modern technologies and equipment enable us to not involve people in the baking process as the machineries do most of the work themselves. When visitors come to our factory they always mention the relative lack of staff. We have only several people in the factory who are there to supervise how the machinery is working.
We try to always provide customers with fresh and tasty bread. We have our own distribution network with about 70 automobiles and a dozen employees, which guarantee the daily supply of Ipkli bread to supermarkets.
Ipkli is a successful company and we care about our customers and their confidence in us. This is our most valuable asset. Ipkli’s bread and pastry are high quality and have lower price margins. Advancing the bread industry is our honour. Accordingly, people can enjoy the results of it.