While consumer demand for the practical chicken sector is increasing, Lezita, Turkey’s most preferred chicken brand, after this success, is starting to turn its direction to different sectors.
Lezita that reminded that they took the first steps of their goals by realizing approximately 65% of Turkey’s advanced processing exports in 2020 is preparing to introduce their newly released chicken products to food giants. Mesut Ergul, General Manager of Lezita, stating that they are number one in Turkey in the chicken category, answered the questions about the future of their brands for our Gulfood special issue of Food & Ingredients magazine.
What can you say about the products Lezita currently produces, its production capacity and your export markets?
As Lezita, we have been operating in the field of chicken meat and its products since 2006. In addition to whole and piece chicken products, we stand out in the white meat sector with our success especially in advanced processed products (coated products, delicatessen products, meatballs, döner, etc.). Since our establishment, we have always been investing in the latest technology. We attach great importance to R&D and innovation and continue our investments with the principle of continuous improvement. Despite the pandemic, we realized our new line investment worth 100 million TL in 2020. We have commissioned the new slicing line investment and the new coated line investment. In the first quarter of 2021, we invested in an automation system that provides untouched packaging and a delicatessen line that provides an increase of approximately 20 percent in delicatessen production. Our current chicken meat line capacity is 25500 units of hour and our current capacity for further processing is 6500 tons/month. We plan to increase our production capacity in 2022. We offer surprising flavors for extraordinary tables. We are continuing to offer practical solutions with innovative products that make life easier, inspired by our consumers, by constantly expanding our product family with brand new flavors. We have offered our Stuffed Chicken products, a first in Turkey, consisting of “Sausage & Mozzarella”, “Spinach & Mozzarella” and stuffed “Cheddar Meatballs” to people of all ages, especially young people as a practical and delicious option. We aim to offer these products for sale in the export channel in the near future. Our aim is to spread all over the world as an international brand. In the category of practical chicken products, we are the most exporting brand in Turkey. We are developing products for our sales in different countries according to the consumption trends of the relevant market. With this understanding, we achieved an increase of 30 percent in exports compared to 2019 and sent our products to 50 countries in 2020. With our innovative products, we made a difference in many countries compared to our competitors. We continue to expand our export targets. While our 2020 export turnover was 37 million dollars, we increased our exports to 72 million dollars in 2021. Thus, we achieved an increase of 90 percent. Our 2022 target is 125 million dollars. We have increased the share of our exports in our total production from 5 percent to 15 percent, and another target is to increase this to 25 percent.
What is the share of the Middle East in your exports? What have been your most demanded products in this market in recent years?
While 50-55% of the chicken meat exports in Turkey are made to Iraq, we, as Lezita, realized 45% of the exports to this country. We also make 25 percent of Turkey’s chicken exports to the Gulf Countries. We increased our share abroad by entering new markets with Bolly, our second brand we made for export. In 2020, we realized approximately 65% of Turkey’s advanced processing exports.
You influence market with your product portfolio. Will there be innovations that we can see in your product range in 2022?
Our roadmap determines the needs and expectations of our customers. We are closely following the latest trends and consumer needs in the world. We believe that being open to innovations, adapting to these innovations in a short time and being able to produce is the most important factor for the development of the sector. We quickly adapted to the change in consumer preferences and habits with the epidemic. We are keeping our leadership in innovative product development with innovative products that make life easier, which we have developed inspired by our consumers. Our biggest goal is to go even higher in innovative product development and to maintain our leadership in this field. In 2022, we will continue to decorate the tables with extraordinary tastes.
Your company is not a company that participates in every fair; we know that you are selective. What is the importance of Gulfood Dubai fair for you?Which of your products do you aim to be at the forefront of this fair?
While we represent our country in the best way in organizations like Gulfood, we are also getting important opportunities to reach bigger goals abroad. Thanks to this fair, we are getting closer to our growth target with the contribution of the infrastructure we have made with corporate dealerships in the Gulf countries. Last year, at Gulfood, we introduced the products we offered to food giants in line with the consumer demands and needs changed with the pandemic. Our new bucket products attracted great attention at the fair. This year, we will bring our innovative products, which we have made with the strength of our team, who understand the changing demands and needs of the consumer, to the world at the fair. I believe that our stuffed chicken products, especially “Sausage & Mozzarella”, “Spinach & Mozzarella” and “Cheddar Meatballs”, will attract great interest this year.
What are Lezita’s goals in the short, medium and long term?
As Lezita, our goal is to become a globally preferred food brand in Turkey. In this direction, we are continuing our investments without slowing down. We made an important investment decision in 2021. This year, we will lay the foundation of the Lezita Kahramanmaraş Production Plant. With our facility to be commissioned two years later, our capacity will double. This investment will both accelerate the Turkish white meat sector and contribute to the country’s economy. At the first stage in Kahramanmaraş, we aim to produce 150 thousand tons of chicken meat and 35 thousand tons of advanced processed products annually. With the second stage investments, we will reach a production capacity of 300 thousand tons of chicken meat and 75 thousand tons of advanced processing. In addition to the integrated meat facility in Kahramanmaraş, we will put into service a broiler feed factory and hatchery facility in the same region. In addition, the total amount of our investment will reach 130 million Euros with the breeder feed facility in Niğde and the breeder coop in Niğde. In 2022, we will also implement a 5 million Euro investment in automation in order to increase the production capacity of products with workmanship, and a renewable energy investment of 4 million Euros in order to reduce the carbon emissions resulting from electricity consumption by half. Furthermore, in 2022, we will make 9 million Euros of delicatessen line investment and 2 million Euros of line acceleration investment. Thus, we will achieve a 10% growth in chicken meat, 60% in delicatessen, and 20% in the total of further processing. With the investment we will make in our rental facility in Malatya, we will increase our production here by 50%. We are working on new investment projects, especially in the dairy, bovine meat and potato sectors. Our feasibility studies are continuing, especially for the further processing part of bovine meat and potatoes.