Food Union’s multi-million investment into new Latvian snacks facility
Latvian-based milk processing group Food Union has invested €5.5 million into establishing a new Kārums curd snack production plant with completely new technological production lines.
As the Riga-based business explained, the move, through JSC Rīgas Piena Kombināts, opens up increased export opportunities, as well as offering an enhanced range of snacks using its advanced facilities.
In addition, the brand’s story has also been updated, the visual identity of the brand has been renewed and packaging designs have been enhanced.
At the beginning of 2018, Food Union began development of its Excellence Center of Fresh Dairy Products, which provided for the construction of the €2.25 million Kārums production plant, the purchase of new curd snack production equipment in the amount of €3.25 million, as well as concentration of all production in Riga in one place at JSC Rīgas Piena Kombināts, with a total investment of EUR 6.25 million including infrastructure modernisation.
With the opening of the Kārums production plant, the first two stages of the Centre of Excellence project have been completed, but the third will also be completed by the end of the year.
As the business added, the story of Kārums’ changes began with the need to increase curd snack production capacity due to growing demand. It saw potential in both the further strengthening of the Kārums brand in the Baltics, which has now become the home market of Kārums, and in export markets, as well as in the development of the curd snacks category in new formats.
Today, we can fully work in a new, extensive and sustainable production plant, using modern production technologies. It is not for nothing that we call this the “new home” of Kārums. This is also a new home to more than 100 employees who work on a daily basis to create our consistently delicious and legendary curd snacks. Also here, visitors will be able to get to know the story of Kārums. The new plant will be adapted to receive visitors and show them our production process as soon as possible,” explains Normunds Staņēvičs, CEO Food Union Europe.
“Kārums is the most recognisable and also the most purchased dairy product brand in Latvia. Managing change for a brand widely loved by buyers is a considerable responsibility. Our goal was to respect Kārums’ almost 30-year history and place in the hearts of customers, to simplify and refresh its visual image, while at the same time strengthening its key elements, so that Kārums fans would recognise the new packaging in shops and be happy with the changes,” explains Ieva Ražinska, Food Union marketing head.
“Every inhabitant of Latvia loves one of the Kārums products because of its taste. This must remain, so the recipes and tastes of the products have remained unchanged. It’s the same good-old Kārums, only nicer – this could be the best compliment we would be happy to get from buyers,” adds Ieva Ražinska.
The Kārums logo has become more concise and modern. The packaging retains the orange colour characteristic of Kārums products, which is complemented by an even more visible logo and easy-to-read product names to make things more convenient for buyers of Kārums products. For more precise flavour navigation, Kārums packages are now decorated with large berries, fruits and other flavours.
To the delight of its fans, the company has decided to bring back the brand’s symbol that many customers have loved since childhood – the crow, which will become the central image of the brand, but in a slightly different look. The crow embodies the values of the Kārums brand – authenticity, truthfulness, friendliness, lightness and simplicity. The image of the crow will appear on most product packaging in the future.
“Along with the visual improvements, we also gave Kārums a new social role, namely, to increase a healthy self-confidence within society, or the ability to look at oneself from the side and “smile”. With our products and communication, Kārums will sincerely and with humour try to remind people on a daily basis that every situation can be turned for the better by saying a good word, giving praise, or simply treating someone with a curd snack, which always improves the mood and makes one feel valued,” adds Ieva Ražinska.
The Kārums product portfolio currently includes 37 products, including curd snacks, yoghurts, desserts, creams and cream cheeses, fresh cheeses and ice cream. From today, Kārums cheese curd snacks will appear on the shelves of shops all over the Baltics in new packaging, and in the near future – other delicious Kārums products will also be “dressed in new clothing”.
Also in the near future, a number of new Kārums products will see the light of day, and they will be announced separately. There will be new flavours of the classic curd snack, as well as a brand new category of cheese for lovers of leaner snacks. In addition to new products, the dessert and yoghurt category of the brand will also be expanded.