Italian Food Art is a case behind the success story of a very young group celebrating 5 years in our country. This definition is a rapidly developing fashion in the world in recent years. As it is known, Italians are famous for their food and this culture is adopted all over the world. Italy is the world's most famous cuisine thanks to the pizzas they produce, cheeses, wines and various kinds of pastas. A company that was founded 5 years ago by young businessman in Turkey, is growing today by using this perception in many countries of the world. We met with INC Group CEO Gökhan İnceoglu to get their ideas on this issue and to ask them how they are carrying out a project. Mr İnceoglu explained how they started this story and how they so collaborated with the Italians: “In fact, this was a very normal process for me. For almost 20 years, I have spent all my commercial life with my Italian friends, actually I learned the world with them. Italians do everything with the artist spirit, but they have difficulty in expressing themselves. In fact, they are real Mediterranean people. They like to live their lives beautiful and stylish, and the times they spend with their friends are very important and special. That's why cooking for Italians is art. We have thought this concept a lot and we actually represent this concept for two basic reasons. First, we know every product and producer in Italy very well. We have two Italian friends who have a very serious career in our team there. Our office is located in Parma. The other reason is that we have to follow the development of the world carefully and have a principle of working with products that are extremely long-lasting and historical, not short life period. Many products in our portfolio are produced with the know-how in Italy and they make a large part of the production in the world. For example, tiramisu is a sweet that almost everyone in the world knows and main ingredient of this sweet is Savoiardi biscuit. Almost 90% of this product is produced in Italy.” İnceoğlu, explained what they have in their portfolio and what they produce, like this:
“We have created a simple portfolio that we can concentrate on. There are 4 main groups. Fresh pastas, biscuits, Cake ingredients, Fresh cakes with milk. All of these are produced in our group's own facilities or in the facilities of our sister companies that we are partners with. Currently we have 3 main production location, 2 of them in Italy and 1 of them in Turkey.”
Mr Inceoglu explained how they widen their business to the world and how they manage this operation: “We have an export planning unit in Istanbul. We have produced all of these products by planning to enter different markets. For example, we produce Private Label for Europe's most important retailers in the production of fresh milk cakes. We only work with A101 in Turkey and our business extremely fast growing. We have already started to offer biscuits to Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. We have a new company in the US and we will start to sell through this company in October. Turkey actually was not in our plans, but we agreed to start to sell in this market by the support and insist of some of our old friends in this business. Savoiardi that we bring as cake ingredient, now is the product that sells in the highest number of sale points in Turkey. Our product is on shelves in many retail points. We decided to grow this market with 2 new products and we brought the Savoiardi Cocoa and Bio Savoiardi.
Our fresh pasta project is very boutique. Because the concept is very special and we do not consider widespread distribution. In the places where we sell the product, the perception is how healthy and nutritious the product is. If we are convinced that this perception is formed in Turkey, we will expand the product. But at this time, we position the product only where mothers -who care about the development of their children- and individuals -who take care of the nutritional values while making sports- buy the products. Within time, When we tell more consumers about how nutritious and balanced the fresh vegetables and fresh eggs are, the product will have wider sales area” after that, the process of forming the brand is summarized as follows:
“In fact, this process is over, there is now a brand in the field. Our aim is to create a brand in 4 different categories with the main brand of Giulietta in the world. Of course, as a young Turkish entrepreneur we know that this road is long but we have made serious progress in 2 years. Actually the topic that pleased us most is; this is not a project anymore, now the products are on shelves as a reality. Planning, production prescriptions, permissions, design, printing and testing are all completed. All the products are on shelf and export process is physically started. After this, we will patiently try to bring this brand to the largest and most accurate sales areas in the world. In particular, I need to define the correct sales area because the market in the consumption areas of these products should be formed and people should be able to compare these types of products. The simplest example can be given from our country. We always ate the same biscuits with the different shapes and packs for years. I never thought there would be other flavors different than these kind of biscuits which I have seen when I was growing up. But the world is developing, flavors and quality are changing. We're still struggling with an old generation who is struggling to “produce more for cheaper product” and who is afraid of to follow the modern world and quality. However, it is our biggest goal to create an important brand for our country with an innovation and planning that ultimately reaches the speed of the world. Inceoglu also underlined that they have plans on whole production in Turkey: "Of course we wanted to produce everything here in Turkey, but this should provide a significant advantage when we sell our products from here. Everybody has an idea that production is cheap in Turkey, yes cheap. But labor is cheap only, the quality or continuity problem can be experienced for everything else. This is the risk for a quality-oriented company like us. If we can make the production with the standard quality and continuity, I am the one who wants most to produce everything in Turkey. For example, I am very happy to produce pasta here. Since the technical team is good and since you have regular fresh raw materials, there is no problem. We could reduce the cost of pasta %30 that we have sold from Italy to UK and Scotland for years. We have recently clarified the project to bring fresh milk cake production line to Turkey but we gave up because of the quality of milk and the economic imbalances in Turkey, and unfortunately we shifted the production to Iran. We will deliver to all GCC region with a Turkish brand of fresh milk snacks that are kept in +4 degree (refrigerator)”.