Round table “Without quality raw materials no quality products” attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, food products and raw materials producers, as well as a representative of the consumer association, was held today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, organized by PR agency Pristop.
At the opening of the meeting, Nenad Dolovac, food safety advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management in the Government of Serbia, supported this type of panels of the three sides and pointed out that as far as the quality of products on the Serbian market is concerned, two aspects should be separated. “Often people identify quality with security. There is no compromise in food safety, and what is not safe can not be found on the market. As far as quality is concerned, the obligation of the subject and the inspection service is to control the products in accordance with the rules. The Regulations are based on the Food Safety Law, and there are about 25 regulations governing the quality of products being marketed. The products are compliant with these policies. For what is not harmonized, an order for alignment or, if that is impossible, an absolute withdrawal from production is given. The Regulations are in line with the legal regulations applicable in the territory of the EU. Often they are updated annually and often have changes, so that’s why we are doing these alignments. On the basis of the Food Safety Law, all business entities are responsible for the food they place on the market, and with the help of various tools, the state controls and examines health safety, ie. safety and quality of food on the market. ”
During the panel discussion, panelists Andrej Bele, General Manager of the Atlantic Grupa Strategic Business Area, Miloš Marković, Marketing Director Don Don, Predrag Nenin, Dijamant Quality and Environment Manager, Miodrag Jelić, General Manager Lesaffre for Serbia, Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria and Vera Vida, President of the Consumer Center of Serbia (CEPS), emphasized that serious producers are devoting significant efforts to ensure their product is of high quality – from the purchase of quality raw materials and strict control of the production process, as this is a prerequisite for a qualitative and competitive product on the market.
Vera Vida, Chairwoman of the Consumer Protection Center, specifically referred to the role of the consumer association and stressed that “the Product Safety Law has all the elements of product traceability, and consumers have a demand for consistency of quality. Consumers do not change products that have continuous quality. A product that has a declaration is a quality product. Unfortunately, in Serbia, no analyzes were made about what kind of quality products are on the market, but only that they are safe to use. Also, there is no good or bad quality, there are quality and low quality products. The largest problem in declarations of food is seen in the nutrition table. Consumers rarely read them or do not understand them. Only special attention is paid to people with some kind of health problem. ”
“When you are continuously investing in quality for twenty years, which involves investments in every segment of the business, from procurement, production, development, market research, to communication with our consumers, I can freely say that Grand Coffee has become a brand that today, by itself , a quality guarantee, “said Andrej Bele, General Manager of Atlantic Grupa’s Strategic Business Area. Nevertheless, in order to preserve the top quality, in which company annually invests around 400,000 euros, as well as the expertise and energy of its employees, and the importance of state support, as well as consumer associations, which should educate on quality issues, raise the consumer expectations scale, said Andrej Bele.
“Bread in Serbia is still the main food category, although the bakery industry has significantly advanced in the last ten years. That’s why the regulation on mandatory bread production “T-500” is still valid, although the market is increasingly looking for bread whose composition is significantly more complex and richer in ingredients, the nutritional value of which is higher. Such a bread corresponds to the standards of developed countries, and this is confirmed by our example, because the toast we produce in Kragujevac is also exported to EU countries. So far, Don Don has invested nearly 70 million euros in the development of bakery in Serbia, and we still need to import the necessary ingredients for various types of bread, to produce bread of a better quality. That is why we need the support and understanding of the state, to support the production of quality raw materials for the bakery industry and to enable us additional infrastructural improvements, because in that case we would have all the conditions for more efficient production, which can compete with European standards, “said Miloš Marković, director of marking company Don Don.
In about two hours of round table, the panelists presented examples of good practice, but also the problems they have in business, which primarily relate to various regulations and certifications that manufacturers must satisfy to ensure their product is safe and secure on the market, and that the quality still depends on many other conditions that they have to fulfill.
“Dijamant, as a leader in the production of edible oils, margarines, mayonnaise and dressings, devotes special attention to the quality and safety of its products. The 80-year-old tradition, as well as a leading market position, confirms our commitment and perseverance on this issue. Development of assortments and innovative solutions contribute to the position of our brands, but the key is in the quality of raw materials. Diamond has an advantage over the competition, not only because of its knowledge and experience, but also because our production is in Banat, where 70% of sunflowers we use in production are produced, “said Predrag Nenin, spec. microbiologist, manager of quality management and environmental protection at Dijamant.
Miodrag Jelić, general manager of Lesaffre for Serbia, Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria, one of the leaders in the field of bakery, emphasized that the goal is to satisfy the local market and that this is precisely the benchmark of success with respect to quality standards. “Investing in quality is not only an obligation, but also a need. We are the leading supplier of fresh bakery in Serbia, from 2013 and the next 3 years invested in the evolution of the cold chain and supplied our distributors with refrigerated vehicles, which has proven to be a move that has greatly contributed to maintaining the quality of our products to the end users . “He also referred to the fact that every company is made up of people and that it deals with business partners, the quality of service and customer support can be a factor that will make a difference.
The conclusion of the meeting is the recommendation and the need of the contractor that the state further stimulates the quality of the products, and there was also a proposal to appoint an institution that would take an official stand on all food issues in all disputed situations, eliminate possible concerns about the implementation of legislation, and it would have an important role in consumer education. Also, the opinion prevailed that the state should more strongly support brands that are quality bearers, among other things, in order to better position domestic brands in markets outside Serbia.
The task of consumer associations is to educate consumers more about how to recognize quality, how to get information about standards and what they mean for consumers, as well as the composition of the product itself, where the declaration is the first mark that transmits a quality message. Also, the association should monitor communication about the brand itself, because information in messages to consumers can mislead the consumer.
The companies differ in quality of their products from the competition and from producers who do not meet the prescribed quality standards. Quality is primarily the leader’s mark, and its emergence to maintain and improve it from raw materials to finished products. In order for consumers to have a clear distinction between the quality of products on the market, companies must make a lot of effort, not only in the product itself, but also in the entire manufacturing process, in innovative solutions, in relation to consumers, but also in better communication with the state that should officially support the efforts of those struggling for product quality on the market and food safety.