Chr Hansen tour shows dairy firms new possibilities

Related tags Chr hansen European union Milk

Chr Hansen's innovative Eastern European marketing campaign, which
kicks off today, should help the Czech Republic's dairy sector find
new ways of adding value to their products, writes Anthony

Indeed the Magical Sensory Tour, as it is called, is not what could be described as an ordinary promotional event. The firm intends to send a team of employees through nine Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Romania and Croatia, using a 50 square metre mobile show room in order to gain access and share knowledge with as wide a range of people as possible.

The tour begins today in Prague, and is due to finish in Poland on 19th April. Chr Hansen sees the campaign as an exciting means of discovering first-hand the opportunities available in the region. Eastern Europe, along with Africa and the Middle East, holds the best market potential for flavour producers, according to a recent market report from the UK's IAL Consultants.

In addition, the firm hopes to demonstrate to food manufacturers just what is possible with a little imagination. Indeed Vladimir Valenta, sales director for Chr Hansen's dairy sector in the Czech Republic, believes that the tour can only be of benefit to the country's dairy sector.

"We're in the middle of Europe, and in many ways we mirror the dairy industry markets around us,"​ he told "Other markets are very similar."

In other words, the Czech dairy sector is characterised by a great deal of competition and low margins. In order to survive, dairies must find ways to add value to their products and move away from the commodity end of the market. It is here that Chr Hansen can help.

"We are everywhere in the Czech Republic,"​ said Valenta. "We might not supply any firm with 100 per cent of their ingredients, but I'd say we supply something to 100 per cent of dairy firms. And what we can show them on this tour is new ideas."

Probiotics is a good example of how dairy firms can use ingredients to add value to their products and take advantage of a consumer trend, in this case the trend towards healthier eating. And as Valenta points out it is not just milk products - goods such as quark can also be improved through the use of flavourings.

"My task is not just to sell ingredients in the Czech Republic but also to offer companies advice,"​ said Valenta. Indeed, he identifies a whole host of opportunities within the dairy sector - tinned cheese traditionally exported to Lebanon is increasingly finding a market within the EU, and one dairy is processing what is known as Bohemian Parmesan, which is later conditioned and ripened in cellars in Italy.

Chr Hansen hopes that the tour will show dairy firms that innovative ingredients can open new doors and expand the potential of their businesses. In recent years the dairy sector in the Czech Republic has witnessed phenomenal growth; in 2003 the sale of dairy products within the country grew by an estimated 24 per cent to reach a total value of CK41.5 billion.

After a period of heavy consolidation the industry has emerged as robust and in the light of strong demand from both the domestic and international markets.

"We have dramatically improved the quality of our milk production in the past 15 years,"​ said Valenta. "We have improved the equipment and hygiene conditions, and everything is to EU standards."

According to Ministry of Agriculture figures, the processing of milk and the production of dairy products such as ice-cream currently ranks as the fourth largest food industry segment in the country, with an overall share of 15 per cent.

The tour is therefore an innovative means by which Chr Hansen can market its products and vision within sectors that show great potential for growth. By being in all these places and meeting manufacturers and retailers, Chr Hansen hopes to be in a position to facilitate local innovation.

For more details about Chr Hansen's sensory tour click here​.

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