Marek Moczulski, President of the Management Board, CEO at Unitop Sp. z o.o.
Unitop has been working on quality since 1945. What changes in the organization have occurred over the years and which moments were crucial for the company’s development?
Our tradition dates back to 1945 and although the tastes of consumers have changed over the years, we have always prided ourselves on the fact that our halva is invariably made by hand. The product is characterized by original, traditional taste and the so-called “fibrous” texture, appreciated by consumers, and resulting from the hand-made. Our company is one of the biggest producers of halva not only in Poland, but also in Europe. We export nearly 80% of our goods and are constantly developing our product range. We want to simultaneously expand the categories of halva and sesame seeds in Poland, because so far our presence in the country has not been proportional to the potential – we are currently fighting for the Polish market.
The pandemic changes the entire economy. What is the impact of the new world situation on Unitop?
Pandemic is a time that presents many challenges for manufacturers. It teaches us to react dynamically to changes and to cope with completely new, unusual situations. We are aware that all these changes affect the food industry and consumer preferences – some products gain and some lose. We would also like to point out that products labeled as healthy – although they may be more expensive, are particularly wanted by consumers and are being bought all the time, even though consumers are saving money as a result of uncertainty. It is a highly visible global trend. I think that now the most important thing is for the pandemic to end – then it will become clear which consumer habits will stay with us. The trend of cooking and baking at home will certainly continue, but in the coming years we will be closely monitoring whether it will not disappear. Consumers also emphasize that even if the venues are open, they will still practice home cooking without visiting restaurants.
What prospects do you see for your company in the coming years?
The sesame category in Poland is somewhat forgotten and requires refreshing and appropriate communication aimed at traders, i.e. networks and consumers. Poles appreciate sesame seeds because of their taste, tradition and nutritional value. And, observing these trends, we want to develop our offer not only in terms of exports, but above all on the Polish market. It should be noted that consumers often look for snacks with a simple composition – no additional ingredients, no artificial supplements – and at the same time expect the product to be full of good nutritional values. For example, Amki Superfoods sesame bars contain only 4 simple ingredients, are made with honey, and combine high-quality sesame and expanded grains.
Unitop is one of the largest producers of halva and sesame seeds in Europe, what would you mention as the key to your success?
At this point, our halva is a phenomenon on a global scale, because many producers around the world have decided to mechanically produce halva. We remain with the handicraft. In the production of our products, we have rowers who pull the fibers and this definitely sets us apart from other manufacturers who use powder alone and mechanical production. The fibers are found all along the length of the halva, halva bar, which is much appreciated by connoisseurs. We are proud of a tradition that will definitely stay with us.
80% of the company’s production is exported. Your products are appreciated all over Europe, Australia and North America, do you have any plans for further expansion directions?
In the previous year, we assumed the acquisition of five large distributors on foreign markets and we are on the right track to achieve this goal. However, doing business with foreign contractors during a pandemic is difficult, if only because of movement restrictions. As I enter the new network, I would like to see how Unitop’s products will be displayed and whether anything should be changed to attract consumers’ attention.
Vaccination and collective immunity in many populations should change the current situation, then normal business life will return. In the next 2-3 years, our turnover is expected to double in both halva and sesame seeds. In many markets – in Canada, Australia and England – we are in an established position, producing on behalf of the distributor or our own brand. We are talking about a niche, but a very grateful one – sesame is a real super food.
Healthy eating has been of particular importance for people in recent years. Are your products adapted to this group of consumers?
We meet consumers’ expectations by capitalizing on the health trend. Pandemic reminds people how important is health and taking care of yourself. Sesame and halva strengthen immunity, they are an excellent – natural – source of a huge number of vitamins. Sesame is primarily a source of fiber. We try to keep all these properties – we roast the beans and leave the sesame oil in.
Unitop has 6 brands, do you have any further projects planned?
All the time we take care of the development of the product offer and follow the trends related to packaging. Everything is developing, work is in progress, but unfortunately at the moment we can only talk about what is on the shelves in stores. New products will surely come soon.
Last Updated on May 10, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska