“Bistroff oat porridges of Nestlé will be made with strawberries, melons, apricots, cherries and apples supplied by Gemuani. This year we plan to supply Nestlé with eight tonnes of ingredients”, said Managing Director of Gemuani Nona Tordia.
Tordia said that establishing a partnership with the world’s largest food company was not an easy task, but that Gemuani went through strict inspections, satisfied a number of regulations including receiving an IFC certificate.
“We are very proud to be holders of an IFC certificate which helped us apply international food safety standards and adapt a sustainable business model. Holding this certificate means your company meets export market requirements. However, it was not enough to achieve a deal with Nestlé or any other international brand. Representatives of the company themselves come and do the internal audit and only after that do they approve cooperation with us”, Tordia said.
She said that Gemuani is negotiating with three other international companies ‘on very large projects’ and hopes negotiations will be concluded successfully.
“When you have a contract with one large brand, it becomes a little bit easier to establish cooperation with other players. Nestlé is a trustworthy company and everybody knows what it’s like to be our partner. So trust towards Gemuani has risen significantly”, Tordia said.
Established in 2011 in the Samegrelo region of Georgia, Gemuani is recognized as an innovator in agricultural production and processing, having earned for itself a reputation for quality-oriented, nutritionally rich, and highly prized agricultural products.
With its mission to produce healthy foods and preserve the environment, the company maintains the highest, internationally recognized standards for food safety.
Recognizing the need for constant innovation and expansion, in addition to growing demand for fruits and vegetables, Gemuani has engineered and opened a state of the art freeze-drying facility with the financial support of the Agriculture Projects Management Agency (APMA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy and USAID’s REAP.
Freeze-drying is an all-natural process that removes 97% of the moisture from fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw materials are deep-frozen, then transferred to a freeze-drying chamber where moisture, quickly converted into gaseous form, is removed under low pressure without the influence of heat.
With this added capacity, and taking advantage of the abundant fruit supply that comes from their own plantation as well as others in the region, the company has launched Gemuani Crisps – a line of all-natural, freeze-dried snacks, which are made from fresh, whole fruit without additives, sweeteners or preservatives.
You told us about Gemuani’s successful negotiations with international brands and we wish you success in this regard. Please tell us more about what Gemuani can offer Georgian customers?
We have so many surprises for our customers. First of all, we are expanding the Gemuani Crisps line and adding new flavors to include grape and feijoa crisps.
In addition, we are creating a completely new line which is an innovation not only for the Georgian market but in the world, I’d say. This is a dry juice line. We are working on creating fruit powder and you will just need to pour it into water to drink absolutely healthy fresh juice. We are working on beet, orange, tomato, carrot, strawberry powders of which some are already approved and some still in testing mode.
We are also working on healthy detox drinks with celery and ginger.
We are thinking about launching Gemuani tea. It will not be a typical tea. The idea is to pour hot water over a fruit tincture and enjoy it.
All these products will be launched this year.
In total Gemuani offers 80 different products.
Where do you source your fruits and vegetables?
From local farmers. I am happy to see that recently the fruit and berries sector has been developing and growing. It is easier for us to cooperate with large companies rather than with small farmers, because we pay a lot of attention to how fruits and vegetables are picked and stored, if the boxes or vehicles used for transportation were properly washed and cleaned, in what conditions the product itself was grown and many other criteria.
You said that Gemuani is under negotiation with three international brands. Do you think you will have enough supplies for all these contracts in which the quality of the product is the most important?
I think the Georgian market will be able to supply these companies.
We are growing, our market is growing and farming in Georgia is also developing.
We will probably still have to import some products in the future.
Most importantly, prices must stabilize. There are very high prices for agricultural products this year.
Gemuani products are available at supermarkets, hypermarkets of Georgia. Have you thought of opening a Gemuani brand store?
Yes, we are working on opening a Gemuani brand store. But negotiations with international brands and working on new products took all our time and efforts.
But hopefully, we will be able to open a brand store next year. We have already diversified our products’ portfolio so it would be perfect to be able to offer all of them under one roof.
Do you export Gemuani products abroad?
Yes, Gemuani products are exported to Europe through Czechia. We also export to the United States, but we have changed our distributor company there, so had to suspend export for a while. We will resume exports to the US in about two months.
Listening to all your plans and already achieved goals it becomes clear why Gemuani won the Golden Brand award in the category of the most innovative brand of the year. What does this award mean for you
This award is very important for us. Imagine, you get the most important award your country has to offer for launching products that nobody knew would get so much love from customers. Fruit crisps were an absolute novelty on the Georgian market and we were very nervous about launching it. Luckily, our customers loved the product immediately and we get positive feedback from them all the time.
This award is very important for our employees who are from the Samegrelo region, where our factory is located. All of them are so proud to see their work has resulted in such a beautiful product.
We will use the label of Golden Brand on all our products.