EkoNiva holding president stakes his life on product quality


DairyNews Information Agency, 26.11.2018

The launch of the EkoNiva’s new brand took place in Globus hypermarket in Odintsovo on 24th November. The packaging of the products now features Stefan Duerr’s face. The DairyNews reporter asked Mr. Duerr about the prospects of the new visual image of the brand.

DN: Mr. Duerr, what makes the new brand stand out from the rest in the market?

‘The new brand will retain the name EkoNiva, because the feed, the cows, the milk, and the employees are the same. The main property of our milk is its natural taste just as it used to be. We don’t want to deceive our customer, so we sell 1,000 ml of the product in a carton, not 930 or 890. We want to reveal what the milk originates from.’

DN: How was the decision to place your photo on the package made?

‘We were thinking about what a present-day consumer wants. They want quality guaranties. There is some uncertainty in the market – they say ‘fake’, ‘where does it come from?’, ‘powdered milk’ from everywhere. People feel at a loss by the store shelves. I believe, if there is a person, who says: ‘You can trust me, it is the milk from our cows,’ it is a kind of advantage. I was undecided for a long time whether to use my face on the packaging or not. Even now I’m not sure, if it’s a good thing to do, because there is a lot at stake. If people start complaining about the quality, there is no way to hide. But I have no doubts that our cows won’t let us down. Neither will our people.’

DN: How much product under the new brand will you produce?

‘It all depends on customers, of course. We expect the total output to reach 1 mln tonnes a year. Today we are producing 1.5 mln litres a day. By this time next year, we are planning to achieve the output of 2.5 mln litres.’

DN: How will the existing brands develop?

– We will retain the Academy of Dairy Sciences and The Big School Break brands, while at the regional level we might keep them for a very long time. We will also use store brands. I guess, in about two years 70% of products on the market will be of EkoNiva brand.’

DN: What are your ideas about the future of EkoNiva in the Moscow oblast?

‘In the Moscow oblast EkoNiva is planning to build two dairies in Stupino district. The construction starts this year, and we expect to drink milk from Stupino district in a year. According to the plan, there will be 2800-3000 head of milking cows in Stupino on each farm. The amount of investment in the dairies in Stupino together with the forage harvesters is approximately 1 mln rubles per cow, i.e. 3 bln rubles in total. We want to process milk in Stupino too. The total amount of investment, I think, will be no less than 15 bln.

According to our estimates, to process the milk we produce, we will have to invest about 70 bln rubles within 7-8-year period. Milk processing requires much less investment, than milk production.’

DN: How important is the launch of a new brand for the holding?

– The launch of a new brand is something entirely new. Odintsovo district feels like home for me personally. We considered construction of new farms in Moscow oblast for a very long time and decided that we can assume the responsibility. There is a wide assortment of milk of different producers on the store shelves. All of them claim that their milk has the most natural taste. Our goal is to prove our genuine commitment to the customer. We give our cows good feed, which absorbs the excellent natural properties of the Russian land, the effort and the spirit of the Russian people, and they produce milk of really good taste.