Katarzyna Salomon – “Rzeźnik Polski” talks to Maja Jankowiak Marketing Manager of Garos
How do you assess the year that has just passed?
Certainly better than last year, when we all had our first experience of a pandemic. Although unfortunately, it is not yet the end of the road, we have all managed to get used to it a little and to get used to it gently. Fortunately, the year 2021 brought us the long-awaited return to the “new normal”, which meant a return to meetings with people – congresses, fairs, meetings, and lectures, which for me as a marketer is absolutely invaluable. In my opinion, this is the best way to build relationships with partners and clients – that is the basis both in this industry and in marketing. This is what I was looking forward to the most.
What are the most important challenges the industry has faced in 2021?
Here, unfortunately, the theme of pandemics continues to resurface. Despite the fact that it started relatively long ago, we are still feeling its effects. We all depend on it and, whether we want to or not, we are at its mercy, to which we must adapt sometimes practically from day to day. This also brings with it other huge problems, such as the availability of raw materials or various components. In the challenges, I would certainly also mention the growing popularity of Flexitarianism, although interestingly enough, studies show that meat production has increased by about 20% over the last years and is predicted to continue growing at a similar level. Nevertheless, it is certainly a trend that has not been and will not be easy for our industry. Adapting to it, we have for many years been the main supplier of production lines to Gunnar Dafgård AB, the largest food producer in Sweden. Added to the challenges, of course, have been inflation and fluctuations in raw material prices, which ultimately affect the final prices for each of us. Undoubtedly, if you asked other industry participants, they would list a dozen other challenges, but I think these were the most challenging.
Which ones may have been particularly problematic?
It is difficult to point to one particular challenge here. Depending on the specifics of the company, each of us faced his own mountain that we had to overcome in order to survive and then be able to safely descend it, often along an extremely bumpy path.
Please list the main trends in the meat processing market.
Certainly thanks to the popularization of high-quality food, premium brands are in greater demand. As consumers, we are more and more aware of what we buy and what the products we put in the shopping basket contain. But what pleases me, as a marketer and also as part of Garos, is automation and Industry 4.0. also appear to be a huge trend, with great promise for 2022.
How will they evolve and what opportunities should we look for in them?
For us, the automation trend is certainly extremely important and promising. As the world’s leading manufacturer of fully automated production lines and the only one to have developed a solution for vacuum transport of the product between the machines, we see this trend as a great opportunity to popularize our solutions. Currently, employers more and more often have problems with finding employees, especially when they decide to look for them in the country. Moreover, each of us feels the pressure to catch up with the competition – this, combined with trends, forces manufacturers to adapt to automation, which shortly will be a standard in every production plant.
What is the greatest potential of the meat industry and how can we develop it?
I would venture to say that automation is the trend that has the greatest potential, which is why it is the aspect we are trying to develop the most in our company. Thanks to our experience, we have been able to create a system that makes it possible to fully integrate machines into a single whole. This allows you to achieve continuity of production and increase its efficiency, as well as eliminate the need for labor-intensive manual operation and thus improving employee safety and production hygiene levels. In this way, we are able to accumulate resources that will enable efficient use of resources, time, and production space. Undoubtedly, an additional huge advantage is the fact that in this case, it does not matter whether the production plant is large or small. We can create a production line with dozens of injectors and massagers as well as one injector and one massager, which is ideal for a smaller, traditional plant that wants to keep up with the latest trends but not change its values, which is the most important thing.
With what attitude are you entering 2022 – what can we expect in the near future?
My attitude (I think I can also speak for the whole company at this point) is definitely positive. We have a lot of plans to grow to meet customer needs even more, which makes me very optimistic – it will also allow me to create new marketing strategies, which makes me even more excited. I’m also incredibly hopeful that the fourth wave of the pandemic will ease relatively quickly and we can get back to normal again. I’m also looking forward to seeing the new trends that will form in the coming year – for me personally, that’s one of the most interesting aspects of working in this industry – the fact of how dynamically it evolves.