Central Europe craves quality produce with high service content. So says Patrick Dojcinovic, fresh food commercial director for Tesco Central Europe, the unit of the UK’s leading retailer with
1,200 hyper- and supermarkets in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Now he’s looking in Italy for new suppliers to join Alegra, Frudis, Granfrutta Zani and Valledoro that already work with him for Tesco.
“We’re screening big and small suppliers for long-term contracts. We’re looking for firms that can bring innovative and value- added products to our retail customers”. The big companies Dojcinovic wants will enable economies of scale, end-to-end logistics to optimise distribution and curtail costs, development of private-label lines, and strategies that are fine-tuned for category management. The small companies Tesco wants are specialists really, with a strong reputation, who can supply its locations with traditional local produce to be sold under the Tesco Finest premium brand. Once its suppliers are in place, Tesco plans to initiate programmes that are tailored to individual markets or se- lect groups of outlets.
“We’re also willing to support our smaller suppliers by remitting payment as quickly as a fortnight after delivery”. Tesco Central Europe’s new sourcing policy is designed to meet the need for location formats that promote fidelity of customers with emerging demands.
“A lot has changed in our operations in Central Europe these last three years. The standard of living is catching up with Western Europe’s. The consumer-confidence index keeps rising as more jobs are created and unemployment rates fall. We’re also seeing more consumer demand and willingness to spend for wellness, more balanced diets, and quality, innovative foods. Taken together, these trends mean that items of high value-added are as much a factor as price, and give us and our suppliers a boost in profit margins. Our target with customer’s a woman, married, 1 to 3 children and often a household pet. We’ve got to work in synergy with our suppliers to meet her demands. When it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, it means we must be able to offer items that live up to her expectations in freshness, flavour, appearance, fragrance, practicality and shelf-life. Simply put, the idea is to stock produce that sells itself and is enjoyed at table”.