Erişler Gıda, which has a wheat capacity of 2,300 tons per day, stepped into the retail sector with Eriş Un. Erişler Gıda, which is launched with 1, 2, 5 and 10 kilogram packages is planned to present different kinds of flour to the market in the near future, especially the whole-wheat flour.
This month’s guest of our magazine is Mr. Abdullah Eriş, General Manager of the Erişler Gıda Retail Group. Erişler Gıda, which has been serving in the flour industry for 40 years and has a wheat capacity of 2,300 tons per day, stepped into the retail sector with the noddle brand Nudo curly noodles and Eriş Un in 2014. We made an enjoyable interview with Erişler Gıda which preferred to grow continuously and invest in Turkey regarding its product portfolio, the technologies they use in production, new products they plan to offer to the market and their targets.
Mr. Eriş, especially the representatives of the flour industry know you well, but can you tell us about Erişler Gıda for those who do not? Can you share with us the company’s establishment process and the story through to the present?
I am the fourth generation in our trade life. My great grandfather started the grain trade in the Fatsa district of Ordu province in the 1920s. My grandfather Ali Eriş built a hazelnut production facility in the 1930s after completing his compulsory military service. He had to move his business to Bafra district of Samsun due to the internal turmoil of the period in Fatsa. He established the first flour mill in 1974. This adventure that started that day is still going on. We now serve at 4 different production facilities at our business that started with a small production facility that day and have today a capacity of 2,200 tons of wheat processing per day. We have 4 different production facilities, two in Büyükçekmece, one in Silivri Ortaköy and Silivri Kavaklı.
You are mainly known as a flour producer. Will you give us some information about Erişler Gıda Group? What can you tell us about your production facilities, the types of flour you produce, the technologies you use in production and your production capacity?
I won’t go into details regarding the unique characteristics and technologies of the flour sector. We are closely following new technological developments and devices worldwide. We are trying to adapt these innovations to your company very quickly. We use the latest technology such as metal detectors, automatic loading systems, rollers, cylinders, sieves and control laboratory devices. All our facilities have an automation system; we produce with automation system.
In addition to export and domestic wholesale flour sales, we have two main items in retail; Eriş Un and Nudo. The first step in the retail industry was with the noodle brand Nudo curly noodles. Nudo has three different product categories: glass, pouch and table. In the retail flour market we have our products in 1, 2, 5 and 10 kilogram packages suitable for the needs of consumers.
There is a very serious idle capacity for flour producers in Turkey. This issue is being expressed on almost every platform. How much of your production capacity do you use as Eriş UN? What do you do to fill your capacity or use it more efficiently?
Through our 4 facilities in total, we can process 2 thousand 300 tons of wheat per day and it is possible to increase our capacity. We fill a good portion of our capacity. There are a number of idle factories in Turkey. Half of the factories working in Turkey are working seasonally. But we have no any problem about this subject. With over 40 years of experience, our brand, our brand value, and our understanding of trade, we strive to serve our customers without any compromise from our products.
We know that you are exporting a significant amount of flour. What is Turkey’s total flour export and your share in this export?
We are exporting intensively since the beginning of 2000’s. We mainly work with Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We are rarely exporting to South America. In 2014 we exported 230 thousand tons of flour to more than 50 countries under the brand “Eriş Un”. Our goal is to increase this amount and to go to the regions that we cannot reach. We realize 10 percent of Turkey’s exports alone. With our export figures exceeding 90 million dollars, we are creating added value every year for the Turkish economy.
We do mass production, but we can also respond to small boutique productions. When the customers want small capacity goods in their own packaging, this presents us an advantage.
As Erişler Gıda, our goal is to increase our exports in 2016 by 10 percent. There is a growth of 30 percent in the last six months when compared with last year. In 2015 and 2016, the Turkish flour sector broke the export record. We are expected to a new record this year as a country.
How many countries have you exported globally? What are your new target markets? Do you have a goal to establish factories overseas or to buy other factories abroad?
We are exporting to more than 50 countries. We want to export to places where the population density is high. My target was Asia, especially exporting to China. Africa also has a high export potential. We have some offers from our customers that we do business and make investment in their respective countries. There are also proposals from the governments of the countries that we extensively export. We are evaluating these proposals, but our priority is to stay in our country and invest here.
Although the numbers are very variable, the domestic market is always our priority. We also export the flour not needed by the domestic market.
Would you give information about the amount of annual export that you have achieved and the contribution you have provided to the Turkish economy on this issue?
Turkey meets 20 to 25 percent of world flour trade of 12 million tons. In 2016, Turkey’s exports have increased even more. With our export figures exceeding 90 million dollars, we are trying to improve our standing among the top 250 exporting companies in Turkey.
As far as we are concerned, you, as Eriş Un, are beginning to give more weight to work on the retail group in the domestic market. Could you explain to us the reasons and objectives of your inclination? Which varieties of Eriş Un are currently available on the market shelves or which varieties will we be able to reach later?
We have over 40 years of experience in the retail sector in 2014. Eriş Un entered the market with Baklava pastry and multi-purpose flour categories. We made a difference on our racks with our pink and purple packages. There are various requests like grain flour, gluten-free flour. We have R&D activities about them. We have strict rules like “Do not offer any product to the consumers which we do not consume ourselves”.
Well, what does Eriş Un promise consumers in retail products? What criteria do you focus on in your retail-oriented products (quality, health, etc.)?
First and foremost, our most important criteria is our experience and quality for 40 years. We have certificates that we have crowned our quality. We are the first and only superior award-winning flavor brand in Turkey. In addition, we have Vegan, BRC and Halal Food certificates. These certifications tell us what we want to give to our consumers. We have been serving at the flour sector for 4 generations and we are determined to continue this.
What was your goal when you started the retail business? How many of your targets have you reached? Do you plan to offer a new product to the market?
Our goal was to become one of the leading companies and we have reached 60 percent of our target now. We plan to present different kinds of flour to the market in the near future, especially the whole-wheat flour.
What are you, as Eriş Un planning to do in the future? What are your targets and how will you reach them?
We receive market reports, we listen to the consumer constantly, we have to respond to the demands of the consumer and we will have new products and investments in the direction of the consumer’s wishes. We continue to improve our products for Nudo and flour. We will retail some of our wholesale products. They will be carried out in time; you have to be a well-placed player in the market. Eriş Un is getting better recognized in the retail. The interested segment is getting increasing day by day. We have around 60 flour productions in the wholesale sector, but we have not carried it to the retail sector yet.
Will you have remarkable activities regarding the marketing and promotion?
We have promotional activities at the markets, constantly communicating with consumers through social media, we have continuous marketing activities; it is not possible to think otherwise. There are 80 million people in Turkey; each individual person is our adviser. We are aware of all kinds of positive and negative reports. We are constantly active in social media. All the comments that come to us have value for us, I read the comments one by one. We receive online orders through our internet site, we do e-commerce. It’s going pretty well. We can deliver the cargo all across Turkey. We ship to the east, the farthest point within 2 days.
As Eriş Un and Nudo, you have also various certifications and prizes such as “V-Label”, “Superior Taste Award” and “Halal Food Certificate”. Could you talk about these certificates and awards?
Eriş Un’s BRC and ISO 9001 certificates are the most important certificates certifying that our name is safe and of good quality. With the BRC certificate, standardization of production, food safety and follow-up procedures have been secured according to international criteria. We also have our Vegan certificate.
The board included Eriş Un and Nudo into delicious products category after taking into consideration such factors as the first impression, color, odor control, and the taste in the mouth and the texture of the product. We are awarded a superior taste awarded by 120 jury members selected by 15 culinary and beverage associations of Europe, on the basis of blind taste evaluation without any packaging and signs on the products.
The V-Label certificate is awarded only to companies that accept the unannounced inspection and product analysis of the internationally accredited local food control laboratories twice a year. As Nudo, we accepted these inspections and documented the accuracy of our products with an international food certificate.
We have Halal Certificates from GIMDES. Our products go through the strict controls of GIMDES from their sauces to packaging and reach the consumers in a healthy and hygienic manner. Halal does not only mean that only products do not contain pork, pork additives and alcohol. Halal also means the product do not contain any substance harmful to the body.
Since 2013, you have been on the list of Turkey’s R&D champions. How do you achieve this? What are your R&D guidelines for flour and other products?
The investment and labor we as Erişler Gıda have made for R&D is returning to us as an added value. We are developing new products with R&D. We can keep the quality and nature of our products at the highest level. This contributes to increasing the diversity and quality of our products and increasing our market share.
We aim to carry our products to the highest levels of quality and high consumer enjoyment through our R&D activities regarding not only NUDO but also Eriş Un. We achieve this through R&D activities. Successful R&D activities are keys to accurate, honest and healthy earning.
Finally, what would you like to add?
Erişler Gıda is able to maintain the Quality Management Systems at A+ level. These systems provide quality sustainability as well as efficient waste management. Providing recycling of waste is a very good added value to the economy. The sparing use of equities is among the commitments of Erişler Gıda. Systems that prevent harm to the environment are available in all of our businesses. We can supply many services in our own way so that we can solve many problems as quickly and as promptly as possible without being dependent on the outside.