Al dente

By: Szalai László Date: 2023. 07. 14. 16:52

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2023/6-7.

Under pressure

Norbert Káhn
commercial director

Norbert Káhn, commercial director of Gyermelyi Zrt.:

“Uncertainty continues to reign in the pasta market, and this situation has been made worse by the uncontrolled dumping of Ukrainian cereals on the market. Our company strictly said no to profiting from this situation, but other market players bought the cheap imported raw material, and this puts great pressure on the market. We had no other choice but to reduce our product prices, and to also use other promotional tools to be attractive to consumers. It is clearly visible that sales of market players with a smaller profit margin strengthened, and in general we can say that promotions became more important in the pasta category”.

Downtiering, but how?

Consumers are really loyal to the pastas they know and like, so they don’t tend to switch to new products. In addition to this, the prices of private label pastas increased more than branded product prices. Gyermelyi Zrt. hasn’t experience a downtiering with its products.

Csaba Mándy Jr, managing director of Mary-Ker Pasta Kft.:

Csaba Mándy Jr
managing director
Mary-Ker Pasta

“As regards downtiering, this phenomenon can’t be interpreted in just one way. Our company doesn’t wish to find new directions by reducing the product size or the egg content, but by making consumers less price-sensitive. As a reliable private label supplier, we always concentrate on delivering pasta products with steady high quality, and this characteristic of ours is now valued much more by partners and consumers than before”.

New durum products

Gyermelyi has made smaller adjustments to its product portfolio: they deleted a few durum pasta formats. At the same time the company rolled out a wholemeal pasta range, which is made using special flour that stands alone in its category. These pastas can be found on store shelves in eye-catching white packaging. Consumer feedback has been very positive and the distribution of the new product range keeps expanding. Gyermelyi’s marketing strategy involves making its store presence even stronger than it has been before.

Pasta sales have recently been quite volatile

Innovation time!

Csaba Mándy Jr talked to our magazine about how important development and innovation work is for food companies if they want to remain competitive and successful in the long run. Obviously these things are also essential in keeping up with the latest consumer needs and market trends. In the future Mary-Ker Pasta Kft. plans to develop eco-friendly and sustainable packaging designs, and to optimise the ingredient composition and nutrient content of its pastas. In the past few years the focus was more on producing enough in volume, but the time has come to realise the company’s innovation projects, as the economic situation is about to become more stable.

New machines, new product formats

Market players in the premium segment are affected more strongly by the current trends.

Róbert Rácz
sales and marketing director
Izsáki Házitészta

Izsáki Házitészta Kft. specialises in pastas with high egg content, and sales and marketing director Róbert Rácz summarises their reactions as follows:

“Despite the far from ideal economic situation, we keep going forward, for instance we have installed new machinery. The objective is to carry on providing shoppers with top quality, well-known pasta varieties, just like in the past. We keep monitoring how consumption habits are changing. As a result of this, we began the year with introducing side dish type 300g products”.


Acquisition and repositioning

Balogh Tészta Zrt. is a Hungarian family business, and most of their partners are independent wholesalers and small Hungarian retail chains.

László Sajcz
marketing and sales director
Balogh Tészta

Marketing and sales director László Sajcz:

“Because our electricity costs have increased, we decided to install solar panels and now produce 25% of the electricity we use ourselves, in Tiszakécske”.

In the first quarter of 2023 the company acquired the Durillo brand, having manufactured the Durillo durum range for Cerbona Zrt. for 8 years. Balogh Tészta Zrt. began to reposition the brand instantly: products got a simple and stylish new design in resealable upright packaging, and they successfully applied for using the Hungarian Product trademark. Plus a Linguine pasta variety was added to the portfolio.

Consumer prices have become more dispersed than ever

Healthy oat alternative

GOF Hungary Kft. is a new player in the pasta market: they entered the gluten-free segment with oat-based products. Right now shoppers can choose from three variants, Penne, Fusilli, and Frilly Large Square, which are available in 200g size.

Tamás Bozó
key account manager
GOF Hungary

Key account manager Tamás Bozó:

“We produce our pastas using our own gluten-free oat flour and water only, so they don’t contain egg and can be enjoyed by vegan consumers too. By making our own flour we can stay competitive, and we try to fight the high energy costs by using innovative and eco-friendly technology (solar panels, firebox). Currently we are in the brand building phase with our pastas. Both retailer and HoReCa units have received the products very positively, as they can attract new customers with our oat-based pastas”. //


Pasta, pasta, pasta…

GfK’s panel monitoring the retail spending of households reveals: Hungarians purchased about the same quantity of pasta in 2022 as in the previous year, on average a little more than 750g once a month. However, in 2022 households had to spend 46.7% more, HUF 789 on buying basically the same quantity than a year before.

GfK-Growth from Knowledge

Kuntner András-GfK

András Kuntner
business development

Branded products became 29% more expensive, and the prices of private labels increased by nearly 58%. Shoppers purchased 3.8kg of branded pasta and 7.1kg of private labels in 2022.

From the different retail channels discounters were able to increase their share in sales. The market share of small shops organised into retail chains dropped from the 2021 level, mainly because of the rather big price increase of private label pastas. Typically it is households with a higher income that purchase durum pasta, and families with children tend to buy much more Italian pasta varieties. //

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