* Started ten years ago, Faruk Gulluoglu expands its product portfolio of Lalin brand
We talked to Faruk Güllü, founder of Faruk Güllüoglu brand, a famous name in baklava, who recently introduced his new brand and category in other sweet and jams on the occasion of Istanbul Food Fair. He explained the story of becoming a lovable brand as saying, “We do not produce any product that we do not offer to our family and kids.”
Would you tell us about the birth of Lalin brand?
We have been in the baklava sector for about 150 years. Our roots and souls are in it. When we came to Istanbul we have to try to adapt ourselves to changing demands and needs of customers. They asked us jams, first. We researched the market and products and then we decided to enter in this segment in 2006; the Lalin brand was born. Family members liked the rose jam we first produced and other varieties followed, including strawberry, sour cherry, raspberry, halva, and lokum, the Turkish delight. I visit fairs held in abroad to get info about other needs.
How did the production of other products start out of jams?
By investing 6 million TL we have bought the facility of halva producing family, who had been in the business for 30 to 40 years. We added new lines in this facility for production of grape molasses, jams, and lokums. We also wanted to be a brand in jam and halva segment as well.
Lalin means, ruby or vermeil in old Turkish, easy to pronounce and suitable to reflect the color red. It should have a distinctive characteristic. To differentiate it should be the kind of jam made delicately by mothers traditionally. What we want to do to produce chemicals and glucose free jams to protect our brand.
We also think about a special package for this special jam. I personally have drawn and design the form of bottles we use. Glass makers said it costs more than traditional cylindrical bottles, however we insist on and have made them produce three different prismatic form.
How were the reactions to Lalin at the beginning?
Thanks to its packaging, taste, ads and marketing, we got our place in a major retailer’s shelves. Migros has increased its jam sales. In those years we have had some procurement problems for raw materials, the most important was sesame. As my father had always said, we did not produce any product without having made them with original materials. We reduced production volume from ten tons to one to protect the quality of halva. Then we developed a new product for our line, grape molasses.
What differs in your molasses from your competitors’?
You have to be in proximity of vineyards if you want to produce fresh molasses. They are the best and the most valuable when pressed at the moment. It is only possible in Kilis. We assumed a factory over there lying idle, and we started to produce. We are producing healthy and quality products in our facility of 4000 sqm including Lalin brand halva, jams, sesame hazelnut cream and grape and walnut sausages.
What do you want to talk about your exports and exports markets?
We export baklava, jams and other products to about 25 countries, headed by Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan. Japanese like rose jams. Customers in those countries have their own choice for both products and tastes. We deliver our products accordingly. We do not offer any of our products that our kids and we have not consumed safely. Our kids are the first subjects for new product tests we have made. We choose the best materials for production.
How fare your efforts to built your brand in abroad? Is it possible to engage in a new retailing operation with Lalin brand?
Now we aimed to grow through new shops under Faruk Gulluoglu brand. Our products are also on sale in Azerbaijan, besides in other 25 countries. We keep investing in abroad to reach more points of sale.