Ljubomir Milošević, Managing Director of Puratos Serbia – We value our partnership with our customers, employees and partners

In Puratos, we believe that a company cannot go wrong if it goes back to the basics of business and its main goal: to meet the expectations of consumers in the simplest terms.

Puratos headquarters are in Belgium, just outside Brussels, where the company was founded in 1919. A century later, their products and services are available in over 100 countries around the world and, in many cases, are produced by network of local subsidiaries. Above all, the company aims to be ‘reliable partners in innovation’, helping their customers worldwide to deliver nutritious and tasty food to their local communities.

Ljubomir Milošević, Managing Director of Puratos Serbia

Puratos marks 25 years of operations in Serbia. In two and a half decades, there must have been some changes in the market. What do you think of the Serbian market today and Puratos on it?

In the last 25 years, the Serbian market went through changes that made the business environment so different that it is hard to make a comparison between now and then. Today, the Serbian market is similar and comparable to other markets in which Puratos operates and has similar challenges. Our market is heavily affected by the global situation and challenges that we cannot ignore, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent global business disruption. This all is affecting Puratos Serbia also. Someone may say that we cannot do anything about it. On the other hand, I believe that it is a matter of personal outlook towards the events of the working environment – I am always an optimist and thus always look for the silver lining, the positive aspect which I believe exists in each situation. But that is a matter of attitude, personal motivation and the motivation of the team. Honestly, I do not expect the following year to be any more special than the previous in terms of working environment, but it is a fact that everyone in business is a maker of their own destiny. We must be aware of the conditions in which we operate, adjusting expectations and making plans which will represent a challenge to accomplish, rather than a wish list. Although I do not expect a significant market growth or a significant increase in consumption in the next year, opportunities for success will arise and it is up to us to recognize and utilize these chances. If we put things like this, we will invest more effort into adapting to the current situation and market conditions as best as we can. In times of hardship, it is easiest to look for excuses and seek out justifications. In times of crisis, great individuals, leaders and companies increase their efforts, step up and stand out.

In Puratos, we believe that a company cannot go wrong if it goes back to the basics of business and its main goal: to meet the expectations of consumers in the simplest terms. This means a realistic assessment of key indicators of success – is distribution on the planned level, is our collaboration and our presence at our partners at a desirable level, are the products offered to our customers in line with the trends and expectations of the consumers and the market, etc. It’s important to be agile and flexible despite the crisis.

This year, the global research on trends and habits of consumers of baked goods, confectionery and chocolate called ‘Taste Tomorrow’ was held online for the first time ever. How did it go and what are the results?

Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in bakery, patisserie and chocolate. This year we are celebrating its 10th anniversary, while the event itself was conducted online, due to the pandemic. During the event, we have revealed the latest results of our unique research and welcomed leading keynote speakers from across the globe.

Through in-depth insights into global and local consumer behaviours, attitudes and choices, this research program offers a food step into the future by tracking the evolution of trends and unveiling new ones.

With Taste Tomorrow, Puratos continuously monitors trends by combining the latest digital technologies and semantic artificial intelligence techniques. We also question more than 17.000 consumers in 40 countries, talk with 80 foodies in trend-setting cities and interview both customers and industry experts.

‘Taste Tomorrow’ is the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in baking goods, patisserie and chocolate. This year we are celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Our 9 food steps into the future are taste, health, freshness, craft, ethical lifestyle, transparency, ultimate convenience, next-level experience and hyper-personal. For more information I invite you to visit www.tastetomorrow.com, while I will give here a quick overview of the key trend findings:

Taste is above all related to consuming baking, patisserie and chocolate products, while consumer expectations around health continue to evolve. Highlighting power ingredients that provide health and taste is the key to success. Hygiene has also become an important focus, and consumers are looking for functional food to boost their immunity. Freshness defines the consumer’s perceptions of quality, while consumers are looking for craftsmanship, food with a human touch. Consumers increasingly want to make ethical food choices, taking into account their personal values, the planet’s interests and the people living on it. Locally sourced products are also considered to be more trustworthy. Consumers read the information on the packaging. Clear labels and information from the field to fork contribute to creating the necessary transparency. Also, with so little time and such busy lives, consumers demand the ultimate convenience. Today consumers expect easy, online ordering and delivery solutions. Consumers want to be amazed and surprised. The total eating experience matters more than ever. Food is getting personal. Consumers now see food as an expression of self, so custom-made bread, patisserie and chocolate are highly appreciated.

Health & Wellbeing is the strategic commitment of Puratos. What does it entail?

Nutritious food and a healthy diet are the basis of good health. Our aim at Puratos is to improve the Health & Well-Being of consumers while maintaining outstanding safety, taste and texture standards. We deliver products with more beneficial ingredients such as fruits, grains and seeds, and ingredients supporting gut health. We also offer solutions to reduce the level of salt, sugar and fat in bakery, patisserie and chocolate items.

Puratos continuously develops products that fit lifestyles contributing to people’s well-being such as the need for clean(er) labels, as well as organic, plant-based and gluten-free offerings.

Maintaining a healthy balanced diet (more fibre, less sugar, salt, certain fats) contributes to a healthy lifestyle that will make all bodily functions work better.

Through our R&D teams & innovation centres, through collaborations with start-ups & universities and Sparkalis, Puratos’ venture for the food tech changemakers (www.sparkalis.com), we commit to investing in the development of innovations that improve the health & well-being of consumers around the world.

You say that Belcolade is “a real Belgian chocolate”. What does that mean? In which way does it stand out from other chocolates?

Belcolade is the real Belgian chocolate brand, produced exclusively in Erembodegem, Belgium. We are the only Belgian family-owned chocolate producer. Back in the ‘80s, when many of Belgium’s large flagship chocolate companies were taken over by foreign groups, Puratos decided to protect one of the most precious elements of Belgium’s culinary heritage: real Belgian chocolate, helping to safeguard its rich tradition by investing in the production of real Belgian chocolate in Belgium.

The brand name Belcolade perfectly reflects what we stand for: Belgian Chocolate (or Chocolade in Flemish). To achieve our unique flavours, we asked the world’s best experts to work intensively on developing an exceptional range of flavours, produced from carefully selected cocoa beans.

Every Belcolade chocolate is the culmination of over 30 years of expertise in superior tasting chocolate. During that time, we have become a trusted partner to thousands of professionals around the world, who share our passion for chocolate. Our chocolate is expertly made from carefully selected ingredients, professionally blended and tested. All of this is done with the utmost respect for tradition. This is why Belcolade is renowned for delivering top-quality products with superior taste.

Nutritious food and a healthy diet are at the basis of good health.

Cacao-Trace’ is a Puratos programme aimed at supporting cocoa farmers. What does this programme entail?

The Cacao-Trace programme addresses the chocolate chain issues by contributing positively to better lives, better health & education and a better planet. This unique sustainable programme focuses on delivering superior tasting chocolate thanks to mastering the fermentation and facilitates creation of value and superior business results for the customers, through its superior taste and unique sustainable approach.

Around the globe, close to 50 million people are dependent on cocoa for their livelihoods. On average, cocoa farmers earn an income below the poverty line. The Cacao-Trace program trains farmers and helps them to deliver cocoa beans of superior quality, increasing their revenue through a premium price and a chocolate bonus on top of conventional farm gate prices. Today the premium price and chocolate bonus add up to the equivalent of 3 to 4 extra months of salary. Since its creation in 2014 by Puratos, the Cacao-Trace program is active in many countries around the world and aims to increase its net positive social and environmental impact on the cocoa supply chain. Not only do farmers receive a quality premium for cocoa beans meeting Cacao-Trace standards, but the unique chocolate bonus program has already funded several projects which includes providing 500 educational scholarships for farmers’ children and building 3 water stations, 2 schools and 1 fully equipped maternity building. Puratos is strongly committed to sustainably sourcing cocoa, with continuous efforts to end deforestation related to cocoa and to strive for a living income for cocoa growers. By 2030, 100% of Puratos Group cocoa ingredients will sustainably sourced.

About Puratos

Puratos is an international group with a full range of innovative products, raw materials and application expertise in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sector. Its customers include artisans, industry, retailers and food services. For further information, visit www.puratos.com and www.puratos.rs.



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