An excellent offering
It’s not just an exemplary approach to a quality product range that secures Balticovo’s continued success, but also its unique ability to listen and adapt to varied and ever changing demands in its individual markets
Established in 1972 as a state owned poultry farm and becoming 100 per cent privately owned in 1994, Latvian-based egg producer Balticovo has grown considerably to become the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. With around 250 people currently employed, the company’s 2.6 million laying hens produce 1.7 million eggs a day and 600 million a year, allowing Balticovo to provide a diverse and market specific offering to its domestic and export markets, to which 70 per cent of its total sales can attributed. As a by-product of its own feed production, the company is also a major producer of rapeseed oil in Baltics.
Since last being featured in FoodChain back in 2011, Balticovo has made significant leaps forward in expanding its global footprint and product range. “Two major investments have been into building the boiled egg plant and rapeseed oil pressing facility,” begins Commercial Director, Toms Auskaps. “Both facilities really help to broaden our spectrum of production abilities. For instance, we have started producing mayonnaise and this concept came from the fact that we are a unique company producing the two main ingredients – eggs and oil – and this allows us to produce using fresh eggs, as opposed to powder. So far we have a normal and low fat option being supplied to food producers as an ingredient, but developing and investing for retail channels is something that we may consider as we move forward.”
Other product developments have been into liquid egg products, with Balticovo launching a range of unique products into this segment. “We have developed the portfolio with a defined strategy in place to provide the final customer with high convenience and ready-to-use products,” explains Toms. “As such, we are very proud of our food technologists who have made a revolutionary liquid pancake mix, which has a 30 per cent egg content and uses rice flour to make them gluten free. Recently, this recipe has been further adapted with the addition of whipping cream, which makes the mix lactose free as well. In the same range we have also launched a liquid egg white product, which we have made available through retail channels in line with the growing healthy-eating trend towards low fat, high protein products. As well as this we have also developed a scrambled egg mix for the food service industry.”
With a growing product range and a strong export reputation across the Baltic regions, Scandinavia, as well as other key markets across Europe, the Middle East and US, Balticovo has established a particular strength in its flexibility. “We consider this to be a core pillar of the company,” Toms says. “It is our ability to apply different strategies to different market segments and different parts of the world. With a very professional sales team we have long-standing client relationships and dedicated people who understand the individual nuances of local markets. Therefore, we are incredibly market sensitive and able to react quickly and effectively to changing market conditions and local demands.”
One example of this ability came with the recent avian influenza crisis in the usually self-sufficient US, which forced the country to open up its import channels for egg products. “We limited our export to the US to 20 per cent of our total production as we didn’t want to lose focus of our core markets and we know US egg market fluctuation is only going to be temporary, but we were able to react to this demand gap effectively,” outlines Toms. “By thinking ahead in this respect we have been able to make the most of this boom in exports and gained a lot of experience.” Balticovo’s reaction to help fill the demand gap is not only testament to its market flexibility, but also its high quality standards.
“In food production quality is one of the most important issues to pay continued focus to,” Toms continues. “We manage this from start to finish, across a number of areas and implement continuous improvement practices to ensure quality is the very best it can be. It starts off with the grain and our long standing experience in feed production that allows us to provide the best raw materials to our hens. Secondly, we pay attention to the human element, making sure we have the best veterinary services and technicians maintaining the health of the birds. This of course is followed by high levels of inspection and quality control throughout the processing of eggs and associated products and on into logistics. We understand that without this focus on quality and continuous improvement there is no future for us retaining our strong positions across the globe.”
Looking ahead Balticovo looks to continue the progress it is making with a diversified product portfolio in order to expand its market footprint. Already well established in the Baltic countries, it is making efforts to strengthen its position in Scandinavia where it has already established a good reputation for quality products. Elsewhere, the company is looking further afield into the emerging consumer markets of the Far East, the Middle East and Africa and exploring opportunities for adding value to those individual markets. Ultimately, a continued commitment to listening to its markets, providing quality, innovative products and continuing its strategy to improve across all processes is key to Balticovo building on its history of success and becoming a major player in the global market.