Food for Thought

Vivartia moves to boost global presence, building on a leading position in the dynamic Greek food and dairy products sector, says Chairman of MIG and Vivartia Group, Panagiotis Throuvalas.

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GIG: What do you believe are the main characteristics of Vivartia?

Panagiotis Throuvalas Chairman of MIG and Vivartia Group

Throuvalas: Vivartia is active in the food sector, which is one of the most important and dynamic sectors of the global economy and one which exhibits constant growth.

Vivartia is a key subsidiary of the MIG Group and one of the largest companies in the food sector in southeastern Europe, with a turnover exceeding €600 million and a current earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of more than €60 million. All brands belonging to the companies of Vivartia have consumer awareness of close to 99% in Greece, with 9 out of 10 Greek households using their products and services daily. The primary subsidiaries of Vivartia are historical companies in the Greek economy, with a dominant position in their sectors:

  • In the Dairy sector, DELTA, a 70 year old company, and its subsidiary United Milk Company (UMC) in Bulgaria. DELTA is Greece’s No. 1 company in the dairy sector (milk and yogurt market) with more than 23% of the market share. It also has a strong presence in the fresh natural juice market and increasing sales in the cheese market. DELTA collaborates with over 1,200 Greek dairy farmers and absorbs 25% of the total cow milk production in Greece to produce its dairy products, including the world-renowned Greek Yogurt. Driven by innovation and high-quality standards, DELTA has maintained the leading position in Greece’s dairy sector for decades and is continuously expanding on an international level.
  • In the Frozen vegetable and Dough sector, another historical company is Barba Stathis, that celebrated its 50th year of operation in 2019. Barba Stathis is considered one of the greatest success stories of the Greek economy since it has managed to become synonymous with freshly frozen vegetables and high-quality traditional Greek dough pies. In fact, with a share of more than 50% of the overall frozen vegetable market and 27% of the total frozen dough market in Greece, Barba Stathis is the undisputed leader of the frozen foods sector. It is noteworthy that throughout the Greek crisis period, Barba Stathis has managed to consolidate and expand its leading position in the country by enlarging the size of the market with its products.
  • Vivartia’s subsidiaries in the foodservice sector are among the largest companies in Europe, operating brands such as Goody’s Burger House, Everest (on the go sandwiches and coffee) and Flocafé Espresso Room (which are among the 25 largest coffee shop chains in Europe). In addition to the above prominent brands, Vivartia has developed and operates a variety of unique foodservice concepts in Greece. The total business footprint in this sector is estimated at a 43% market share of the branded market section visits in Greece, serving more than 300,000 consumers daily in Greece and having a presence in another 13 countries. Vivartia’s foodservice brands operate more than 560 points of sale with a commanding presence throughout the travel and tourism-related industries (more than 250 points of sale in these sectors), a fact that makes the Vivartia Foodservice Sector the leader in this segment in Greece by far.

There are several common values that all these companies share that have allowed them to be successful for more than 50 years now: dedication to high-quality products, constant investment in innovation, research and development, extroversion, and delivering with consistency added value to the consumer.

GIG: What are the most important achievements of the last period?

Panagiotis Throuvalas Chairman of MIG and Vivartia Group

Throuvalas: Vivartia has managed to maintain the leading position of its subsidiaries in their respective sectors throughout the difficult period of the Greek economy by increasing its pace of innovation and by retaining the top quality of its products and the excellent value proposition to consumers, with no compromises.

Additionally, Vivartia has improved the group’s financial position and returned to profitability after the recession of the Greek economy by focusing on operational efficiencies in all of its companies and by restructuring the group’s debt exposure. The latter has enabled the group to secure the necessary financial stability for the coming years to accomplish its growth targets.

GIG: What are your plans for Vivartia in the future?

Panagiotis Throuvalas Chairman of MIG and Vivartia Group

Throuvalas: Our plans will move along two strategic axes:

  • 1. Maintain the leading position of our companies in the domestic market with a targeted strategy across the whole spectrum of our activities. Specifically, all Vivartia group’s companies try to combine the fundamental values of Greek nutrition products (such as Greek strained yogurt, Greek vegetables, or traditional Greek dough pies) with new nutritional trends of modern consumers, such as bio products, protein-rich or vegan products, etc., in a constant effort for healthy and high-quality products.

    Furthermore, Vivartia focuses on actions aiming at protecting the environment, such as recycling, utilising renewable energy sources, adopting new environment-friendly materials, etc.

    It is with this mind-set that our company was the first to introduce the use of biodegradable straws into the Greek market, along with other initiatives endeavouring to limit the usage of plastic, etc.
  • 2. Our second strategic axis concerns the expansion of the group’s presence internationally as an ambassador of Greek nutrition. We are implementing this extroversion strategy via strategic agreements with leading global partners in international markets.

    We aim to strengthen our position in the markets where we are already present and are pursuing expansion in major markets where we have no significant presence for the moment, such as those within America and East Asia.

GIG: What do you believe the future holds for the food sector in general?

Panagiotis Throuvalas Chairman of MIG and Vivartia Group

Throuvalas: I believe that the food sector is one of the most important and dynamic industries globally, with undoubted importance for society. Covering fundamental dietary needs to new nutritional demands, the social footprint of this sector remains enormous.

It contributes significantly to the primary sectors of agriculture and animal farming while investing at the same time large sums in research and development in order to continually improve the quality level of provided products and services; in other words, to satisfy the overall availability of food at an affordable price and at the same time improve the quality of products provided, with increased sensitivity to healthy living, the environment, safety, and ethics.

This is why I believe companies like Vivartia will continue to grow by giving the utmost respect to the production process, emphasising on the quality of products and meeting consumer needs. If this is the case, companies like ours will always be of great importance for the economic environment in which they operate, and they will always attract great investment interest.

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