Kafkas Food Company is one of the names remembered when chestnut is mentioned. İncifer Egel of Kafkas Gida outlined their success story while answering the question of Food Turkey magazine for an exclusive interview:
You are a deep-rooted company in candied chestnut. Would you mention us about the development of the chestnut business?
Kafkas Candy Company was established by Ali Sakir Tatveren, my grandfather, in Bursa in 1930. We, as four generations, have been in the business for 86 years. This is a real success, because most of the family businesses have been vanished in time of second generation. Market and our customers know well about our company and the quality of our products. There are several new founded companies in the sector, so the image of chestnut candy was injured slightly. Since our foundation years ago, we maintain our prestige, hygiene and quality of our products to set the standard in the sector. This year we want to increase the number of selling points in domestic market and to carry our experiences into foreign markets.
Chestnut candy is culturally a product of Mediterranean and Europe and Bursa is famous with its chestnut candy products. Does your brand have any share in the emergence of this image?
I think that my late grand mother Yuksel Tatveren has to be mentioned in this regard. She made the first version of chestnut candy by covering chestnuts with chocolate and called it Karyoka. This has led another development that made Bursa remembered in association with chestnut candy.
What is the general position of Kafkas company and its products in Bursa and in Turkey?
We have been enjoying the benefits of being the leader in chestnut business. Chesnut production began to move towards Aegean region and become a harder to obtain input for our industry. Also the prices have risen, for chestnut and sugar and hazelnut. We had not reflected cost increases to our prices for three years. We know that our rivals are not satisfied with our decision, because they could not raise their prices.
Will you give info about your other products?
We put spoons in some of our products and made them take away product. Consumers buy them not for gift but also for their personal consumption, by immediately rewarding themselves as soon as they bought the product. Another segment of consumers are seeking sugarless products. We presently have 11 branches; one also serves as café-restaurant-pastry shop. 80 people are employed in our pastry production. We get special orders for birthdays and for other special events. We are one of the top sellers of pastry products in Bursa.
How large are your production and export capacities? What countries are your targets for exports?
We have ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certifications for production. We have been dealing with one of the largest retail chains of the country. They are continuously inspecting our production process. We can process up to 3 thousand tons of chestnut annually. We mostly sell in domestic market. However, we want to expand our sales in abroad. We export to buyers in Italy, France, America and Saudi Arabia. We want to expand our product portfolio by adding other varieties.
Info about participating in fair activities?
For years we have been participating in Anuga, Gulfood and other events in the world. In coming years we will be participating in these fairs.