18 May 201710 min reading

İhsan DURU, Duru Bulgur: “We use stone mills in production, which is a traditional method and we manufacture these mills ourselves. Only we use this method in the world. While we are producing with traditional methods, our facilities are equipped with cutting-edge technology. Therefore, we are presenting 100 percent natural, healthy and delicious products to our customers.”

Being one of the leading companies in the industry by producing fifteen types of bulgur, Duru Bulgur continues to gain strength enhancing its product range with pulses and rice products. As Miller Magazine we came together with İhsan Duru, Chairman of the Board of Duru Bulgur.

Processing 200 tons of wheat per day in its 3 facilities, Duru Bulgur exports to 51 countries with “Duru Bulgur” brand, and promote bulgur which is not known much to the various countries. The company which prepares packages in exported countries’ own languages and cookbooks containing bulgur based recipes expects both Turkey and the chefs working in abroad to support promotion of bulgur around the world.

We talked with İhsan Duru, Chairman of the Board of Duru Bulgur about the product groups of the company, promotion works for bulgur and bulgur market. We take the details from İhsan Duru…

Could you please give us some information about Duru Bulgur which was established in 1935 by Ziya Duru? How could you achieve this success? Duru Bulgur was established in 1935 by my father, Ziya Duru. Having supplied products such as peanut, sesame and carob to Istanbul over Silifke Port in 1930s, Ziya Duru established the first bulgur production house in Karaman Züğürtler Plateau in 1935 to meet demands for bulgur and started to produce bulgur. After a while, bulghur production house was closed down due to financial difficulties, but it started to produce again in 1950. After 3 years I became a partner in 1976, my father died and my brother Emin Duru participated in the company in 1982.

With the investments we made in 1985, we were able to double the capacity. We established Duru Bulgur Ltd. Şti. in 1988 and bought the land at Karaman OSB where our first facility is located. We established the first division of our first factory and started producing in 1989. We added pulses and rice products to our product range as well as bulgur in 1996. We started to export packed bulgur within that year.

After we completed new packaging and corporate idendity works in terms of branding in 2000, we focused on advertisement and promotion works closely until 2005. As of 2006, we have established distribution and sales infrastructure across Turkey, worked in important international fairs to reach different markets.

In 2009, we established the second bulgur facility, and strengthened our national and international market share substantially. In 2010, we established a 10.000 m² distribution storage in Belgium to make more efficient distributions to European Union states. Now, we have 380 employees under Duru Bulgur. We sell to 20 thousand points in the country, and export to 51 foreign countries.

Could you give us some information about the product range of Duru Bulgur? What types of bulgur do you produce? What can you tell about your production capacity and technologies that you use in your facilities? As Duru Bulgur, we have three types of bulgur as yellow, black and whole-meal. We have 15 different types of bulgur. We are a company that has utmost products in terms of bulgur diversity in the sector.

Our daily bulgur processing capacity is 200 ton in our 3 facilities. We use stone mills which is a traditional method in our production and manufacture these mills ourselves. We obtain natural stones generated in the nature for years and make them as mill stone and use them in our production processes. Only we use this method in the world. Therefore, we are presenting 100 percent natural, healthy and delicious products to our customers.

While we are producing with traditional methods, our facilities are equipped with cutting-edge technology. We monitor 85 percent of our processes within the company production line with computer systems. In this aspect, our 2 software developers record the company’s production data constantly, and report this data. Also, we are trying to interpret these data obtained, and create decision mechanisms without human intervention. We have transformed to 40 percent automation in packaging which is the densest process. We are packaging with robotic systems.

Bulgur is interesting food with its nutritional value and many advantages. Could you tell our readers about nutrition value and benefits of bulgur and the advantages that it provides as a food product for our readers? Bulgur is a valuable food in terms of fiber and protein that it contains. Bulgu which has low oil rate and glycemic index is rich in terms of vitamin B and folic acids. Therefore, it is one of the basic foods which can be used in diets and nutrition of diabetic patients, pregnant women and children. Bulgur is an economic carbonhydrate source that is recommended by specialists recently. Bulgur used to be considered as the meal of poor people. However, now we see it in the most luxurious restaurants. Bulgur gradually replaces rice which was essential for guest meals. Having a wide variety of usage fields, bulgur is also very delicious. Bulgur has earned its old reputation today.

What do you think about the current status of bulgur in the market and future of it in the world? What are the countries and regions where the demand for bulgur is very high? What countries have potential for bulgur market? While we are on the top in terms of number of countries where bulgur is exported to, and the volume of export, we know that international market volumes of replacement products of other countries are larger when we make a comparison based on the country. The countries where the demand for bulghur is dense is mostly Arabic countries. Far East countries are also a potential market for bulgur.

Recently, bulgur is getting more and more well-known around the world day by day. Do you think it is sufficient? Is the world aware of the value of bulgur? What can be done for promoting bulgur around the world? As Duru Bulgur, we export to 51 countries with “Duru Bulgur” brand. Bulgur is not known much in the world; it is a unique product for Turkish people. Besides Turkish people, Arabs consume bulgur so much. As Duru Bulgur, we are preparing packages for countries that we export to in their languages.

We prepare packages in exported countries’ own languages. We also prepare cookbooks containing bulgur based recipes. Duru Bulgur, we will continue to struggle for promoting bulgur to the whole world. Now, an awareness has been created for bulgur and especially Europeans has understood that bulgur is a very healthy product and started adapting bulgur to their food culture. However, we are doing these promotions with our own efforts as Duru Bulgur. Our government and the cooks working in abroad should support to promotion of bulgur much more and effectively. As Duru Bulgur, we are ready to share our knowledge. Let’s promote bulgur around the world together.

Could you tell us about your works, activities and goals for this issue? As Duru Bulgur, we have a mission to create awareness for bulgur, and promote bulgur which is our national product. With this mission, we are doing a promotion activity in the abroad. We are preparing cookbooks with bulgur in every language and arranging tasting events. In addition, we are promoting bulgur in national channels and cooking programs, and organizing trainings for a better understanding of benefits of bulgur.

Could you tell us about your international structure as company? What can you say about markets that you have reached in abroad, and the countries where the customers are able to find your products? We have 38 offices in abroad, and a warehouse in Belgium. We mostly export bulgur. We export 40 percent of our production. 80 percent of packed bulgur exported from Turkey to the abroad is sent by Duru Bulgur. Bulgur is a foreign food for other countries; therefore it must be promoted. We are receiving very positive feedback from consumers in our events.

We are developing new recipes with bulgur, which are suitable for food culture of that country. For example, we have developed fruit salad with honey and bulghur that Australians may consume at breakfasts. We have won recognition among consumers with this healthy and delicious recipe. When we told and offered bulgur to foreign consumers who do not know bulgur, we receive positive reactions.

Will you bring a new product to the market, or invest in bulgur production or marketing in the near future? Bulgur and pulses products are very hard product groups in terms of product development. However, as Duru Bulgur, we have the widest product range in the sector with our 15 different types of bulgur products. By considering different demands of our customers, we have aimed to use different types of bulgur in various meals with these products that we have developed. The main products that we have developed are “Başbaşı” which is totally unique to our company. This product that we have especially developed for children preferring rice to bulgur is appreciated by a wide audience in a very short time. “Başbaşı Bulgur” of which registration belongs to Duru Bulgur is consumed in Turkey and many countries of the world.

For our consumers who do not have time to cook different rice meals and seeking for practical food, we have developed a bulgur type that can be prepared within 15 minutes as part of Duru Dual series. In this serie consisting of four products, there are bulgur with chickpea, bulgur with mushroom and bulgur with vermicelli. In this series not containing any additive or protective substances, we saved consumers from many hard processes such as boiling, frying by equalizing cooking time of other components with bulgur.

We are planning to develop and offer a wide range of products in the near future in our R&D laboratories established in 2015 with an investment of 250 thousand dollar. One of out most important goals is to make bulgur which is an important food of our country to be consumed not only with meals, but also at every hour of a day.

In addition to product development, we are carrying our serious works to develop our production lines as Duru Bulgur. As well as color indicators, all of the machinery that we use during bulgur production processes are manufactured by ourselves. With our workshop team consisting of 30 people, we are doing constant development works for making bulgur production more modern and automation-based. 2 software developers are working for us.

Finally, what would you like to tell about the future of bulgur in Turkey and your company? As Duru Bulgur, we have been struggling for promoting bulgur since the day we established the company, and we will. We are waiting for supports of everyone to promote this national and valuable product.

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