Assan Food’s global vision

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS - IMAM GUNES

Assan Foods, the 20-year old food company owned by Kibar Holding, is planning a significan­t global expansion. The company, which has already exported to 70 retailers in 30 countries on 4 continents, is preparing to establish a factory in the Far East, where demand is high. Assan Foods General Manager, Hakan Kocoglu, said that the aim is to establish factories in Asian markets within two years. “A Hong Kong company operating in 8 countries found us,” he said. “Major companies in the world already know us. Asian countries love the products we produce. So we need to be close to them. We have a goal of establishi­ng factories in Europe and the U.S. in the future as well. We can also enter the FMCG market in Turkey some time later via acquiring a brand.”

Kocoglu underlined that the company has made $50 million in industrial investment­s for Assan Foods, $6 million of which was made last year.

Assan has more than 300 products, including tomato and paprika paste, ketchup, mayonnaise and sauces and can process 4,500 tonnes of fresh tomatoes per day, producing 2.5 million units of tomato and paprika paste, ketchup, mayonnaise and sauces. The company, which is the largest manufactur­er of mayonnaise and sauces for out-of-home consumptio­n, has acquired a patent for the Turkish bagel (simit) sauce they have just invented.

Starting from its flagship factory in Susurluk, Assan Foods began producing ketchup in 2000 and expanded to mayonnaise and sauce production in 2002. “The Karacabey lowlands is the place where most of the industrial tomatoes used in the production of tomato paste are grown,” Kocoglu said, adding that they also have a second factory in the Aegean Free Zone in Izmir, where they can take rapid action by closely following world prices. Izmir is strategic for the company in this sense, he said.

Enter ng reta l w th the r own brand

Assan Foods is a supplier for all the major fast-food chains in Turkey. “We work with BIM, Metro and Hakmar in retail,” Kocoglu said. “We produce their ketchup and mayonnaise, and sometimes sauces. We have a goal to enter retail in the coming year with our own brand. We are working with chain restaurant­s like Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Domino’s, and Kofteci Yusuf. On the industrial, side we produce for Unilever and Nestle. We are producing aseptic tomato paste and pepper water for Ishimitsu in Japan.”

Assan Foods employs 380 people, with a turnover of $100 million. Aiming to double its turnover in 5 years, it exports with Kingtom, Oba and Colorado brands. It also operates a private label production facility.

In terms of R&D, Kocoglu noted how Kibar Holding Chairman, Ali Kibar, has contribute­d to product developmen­t. “The mastermind behind the Wasabi sauce that we developed was Ali Kibar,” he said. “He shares his thoughts with us and products developed as a result of his ideas are always very successful. We have an R&D department of 12 people who are responsibl­e for the success of our products.”

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