GEA Imaforni reliable and active as ever in Russia
According to Federico Angiuoni, Bakery Sector Sales Manager for GEA Imaforni equipment in Russia, the acquisition of the Italian bakery brand Imaforni by one of the largest suppliers of process technology for the food industry, GEA, in 2016 has been good for the company and good for Russian customers as well.
"Right now, Russia needs strong, reliable equipment and partners, and that’s exactly what we are able to provide”, he said. When a trusted brand is absorbed by a global giant, customers worry whether the quality, service and relationships they had always enjoyed will be compromised. “But that is not necessary in this case at all,” said Federico Angiuoni.
“We are still as reliable and active as ever in Russia and the outlook for new sales is looking very exciting.” By way of illustration, Federico Angiuoni points to a recent new order received from a large bakery in Moscow for a 90-meter-long oven for making pastries. “People trust the Imaforni brand and know that they can rely on product quality and consistency whether the line is running for a day, a week, or a month. That’s the promise. It’s still the same under GEA but now we have a global organization behind, which offers new possibilities for our customers.”
Everyone benefits from the GEA Group
GEA Imaforni is a leading supplier of advanced lines for crackers, soft and hard biscuits and snacks. The Imaforni brand has been selling its equipment in Russia for over 25 years and has built up an impressive portfolio of reference sites across the region. Now, as part of GEA, it is in a prime position to take advantage of sales opportunities generated by other members of the Group worldwide.
Customers benefit furthermore from GEA’s involvement with enhanced financial security, a global service network, over 100 years of engineering experience that permeates the whole product range in ways that show when the going gets really tough, and a level of technical and processing innovation that is the envy of the industry. This technological pedigree, combined with the operational know-how gained through many years of process experience, unrivalled R&D facilities and global back-up enables GEA to provide a unique offering to the Russian market.
Western food embargo changes customer behavior
The company is confident that the Russian market will continue to be important for many years to come. These prospects have had a significant boost in recent years with the continuing ban on the import of food products from the West. Food has to be produced within Russia and reliable equipment is essential to achieve this aim. “Our customers know that they can rely absolutely on our equipment to be reliable, deliver the finest quality, improve productivity and, ultimately, the lowest possible whole of life cost,” he said. “In a market that is suffering high food price inflation, this efficiency is essential.”
Turnkey plants from a single source
In 2015 GEA also acquired Comas from Torrebelvicino, near Venice. The company’s products include a range of top-level equipment and complete production lines for cakes, pies, cookies, layer cakes, pastry, pizza and selected bread applications. The Comas and Imaforni brands complement each other perfectly allowing GEA to provide turnkey systems for a wide range of products, from mixing to packaging, by using proprietary technology and full line integration.
"We work together to help our customers by providing a seamless transition between the equipment allowing customers to work with a single entity for the supply and commissioning of the whole line,” said Federico Angiuoni. “The synergies between the two brands not only help us in identifying opportunities but help our customers too because we have a fundamental understanding of the whole plant and the way in which the different elements work together. I don’t believe any other supplier can do this in the same way.”
Product development for a maturing market
Of course, as the market in Russia matures, so end users become more demanding and greater variety and choice becomes a requirement. “That’s where our research and development facilities can really help customers develop new products and refine processes for maximum efficiency,” explained Federico Angiuoni. “Our GEA Bakery Experience Center (BEC) in Italy provides food technologists to work closely with customers to develop new recipes, improve existing ones and perfect production processes. We can help customers to develop products within their range or create something totally different from nothing more than an idea,” he said. “Whatever our customers want to do, we have the ability to design and supply systems that can turn their ideas into reality.”
In for the long haul
There are challenges to working in Russia, but there are tremendous opportunities too. “We are in this market for the long haul,” said Federico Angiuoni. “Russia has always been an important market for us and I know that there will be good opportunities in the future. What’s more, I truly believe that we have a lot to offer Russia as well. Our engineering experience has been earned over many years and the opportunity to pass that on to this growing market is one that excites me every day.”