Valbona focuses on fresh products and its selection

The foreign market development strategy of the preserves company steps into fresh products and is investing in vegan
Valbona focuses on fresh products and its selection

Marco Pilenga, commercial director of Valbona talks to Food to explain the group sales policy, that has been presented at Anuga 2015 with a wide range of products and special emphasis on the fresh product line. The company, which has always produced for some of the most important European and international names in retail, is today also pushing its own brand, with a strong trust relationship and well-established distribution to support them. “Two years ago the re-branding process of Valbona was started – Pilenga said  – and we are presenting it officially and internationally in occasion of the international fairs, also the presentation of Valbona in the world of the fresh sector through the totally new product, which are the flans, the “veg flan”.

Q: As for the target markets that you are focused on, where do you want your presence to be strengthened most? What can you tell us?

A: Surely our target markets remain the traditional markets such as the English and French markets. We are approaching the German market, which is definitely an important market, but the goal is also to look for far off markets where smaller companies often do not start working with, or do not even approach.

Q: As for promotion and consumer education towards your products, what activities are you promoting or are you working on?

A: Together with the Marketing team – it is usually said that sales and marketing do not get on but Valbona is a special case in this sense because we work very closely together – we try to localise our products so that we can work on each market whilst considering the local needs. For example pesto is sold in Italy with connotations linked to pasta while in other countries through cookbooks, through in stores activities, and very much so on social networks we try to reach new target consumers, and also make products such as the classic pickles appeal to younger consumers because the young consumer is the consumer of tomorrow. For example through the insertion of the QR code we can communicate the origin of the product and the supply chain and we can know, when I open a jar of artichokes, for example, in Azerbajan, which given field and harvest and at what particular time in what particular town and region those artichokes come from.

Q: For 2016 what exhibitions and events will you take part in, in order to convey the quality and features of your products?

A: Our company vocation is private label, however in recent years Valbona has started a process aimed at the brand. The Marca Bologna and Plma in Amsterdam and Chicago shows are a must, but we are also moving towards fairs in South America for example and the Gulfood fair in the Gulf, which are certainly areas of development.

Q: Does having co-packing in your Dna give you an advantage with supermarkets to place your branded products. That is, is it a winning strategy to start by making private label to then to move on to promoting and approaching the international distribution with your own brand?

A: Look, this is a great question because it is one of Valbona’s strengths. Having over 50 years of experience in private label, which entails a partnership where we work together with the customer, we grow together with our customers, not only in terms of turnover but in terms of corporate culture and level of technology and industrialization, it has allowed us, for example, to create the supply chain, to control the supply chain which is very very important and we are the only ones to have for example dried tomatoes from Calabria, or artichokes from Sardinia and Puglia and to work on all that is envolved in the X-ray technology and the certifications, that today are fondemental. Our very strong attention to the product, which is part of our company Dna can also be applied to the Valbona brand. Our goal is to reach a near zero limit, that is to say, a limit which tends to zero for comsumer complaints and this can be done through working closely with production and planning. Consider that about 50% of the vegetables that we work with are fresh produce and you know the difference between fresh vegetables and vegetables preserved in brine. We also work hard on research and development. The company is innovative and wants to be innovative and that is what sets us aside from others.

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