General Director of Solari Iuri Tkebuchava said that the new products will not be sold on the local market at the first stage.
He added that the project is still in its initial phase, and experts are researching the market before launching the new products.
“If the coronavirus pandemic does not stop us, we will have the results of the market research in the near future and we will start buying raw materials in the fall”, Tkebuchava said.
Solari has been operating on the Georgian market since 2014, when it first introduced roasted sunflower seeds for sale in packets.
The company produces three types of sunflower seeds: roasted sunflower seeds; salty, roasted sunflower seeds; and shelled, roasted sunflower seeds. Also, Solari imports peanuts from China, processes them in Georgia and sells them locally.
Last year Solari unveiled a new manufacturing complex and increased production volume.
“The start was excellent, and the expectations were high. However, the global pandemic affected the activities of our company”, said Tkebuchava.
Q. This year Solari was planning to start the export of its products. Could you please tell us what the specific plans were?
A. We have been thinking about exporting our products for several years already and there were real proposals in this direction at the last stage of negotiations.
However, unfortunately, the pandemic and its negative consequences turned out to be a hindering factor. We hope that the world will soon overcome this situation and we will bring the work we have started to the end.
Q. How has Solari developed on the local market taking into account the pandemic?
A. As you know, we import raw materials from abroad, in particular, from Russia.
Last spring, Russia first banned the export of several strategically important products, including sunflower seeds, and then increased export duties fivefold. Had it not been for the efforts of our team and the finding of urgently needed solutions, the production of Solari would have practically stopped. This was the biggest challenge for our company last year.
It can be said that we had to switch to completely new tracks. In such force majeure conditions it is difficult to maintain product quality. Quality is our business card and the key to success over the years. Each member of our team operatively realized the new reality and through selfless work we were able to minimize the existing risks.
All the above prevented us from expanding the range of Solari products, however, as I have already mentioned, starting in the fall of the coming year, we think we will make our customers happy with new Georgian products.
The devaluation of the Georgian national currency, the lari, was another challenge for businesses in Georgia. It was especially painful for us as an importing company. However, we have managed to handle this challenge as well in which customers’ trust and loyalty helped us a lot.
2020 was to have been a turning point for Solari. We have been operating on the Georgian market for seven years already and have established a prominent position in our field. The self-establishment phase is over and a new horizon is unfolding in front of the company, which in the conditions of good management gives us an opportunity to achieve maximum results.
Q. What about the beginning of 2021? What are your expectations this year?
A. We started 2021 with new goals and objectives.
We have already talked about our plans regarding the new products and I do hope the situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic will be stabilized very soon in the country and we will be able to achieve our goals without any obstacles.
For a long time our company’s dream was to have a wide range of products and to enter new markets and begin exports.
We hope that 2021 will give us a successful new start.
Q. What is the market share of Solari and how have sales statistics increased?
A. Sales of Solari products increased by 9% in 2020 compared to 2019. We have 22% of the Georgian market share.
Q. Congratulations on winning the Golden Brand award. This was the third Golden Brand win for Solari. What has been your impression – what led Solari to this success in your opinion?
A. Thank you very much! The secret of our success is the high quality which is appreciated by our customers and is what has made them loyal to Solari for the past seven years already.
The Georgian market is saturated with locally-produced or imported products and it is difficult to maintain a leading position with such competition. However, so far our company has managed to maintain its leading position and is taking new steps to achieve new goals.
As a highly socially responsible company Solari transferred 50,000 GEL to the StopCov foundation to help the country fight against the pandemic.
We are actively involved in charity activities and try to keep the image of a successful company in the future as well.
I wish success to the Golden Brand group. Thank you for this recognition and honor.