4.4.2022 • Company and Culture
Almost everyone has vanilla sugar and baking powder in the larder and the odd Dr. Oetker pizza in the freezer. A success for the Bulgarian colleagues, who celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2020 shortly before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and are market leaders in many areas.
The path that led our colleagues to their current success was not straightforward. “In 1995, baking powder, vanilla sugar, and custard powder from Dr. Oetker were “almost unknown in our domestic kitchens and were hardly used,” recalls Georgi Gramenov, the first Managing Director of Dr. Oetker Bulgaria. In the Bulgarian capital Sofia, the colleagues did everything they could to make Dr. Oetker more widely known. In the first few years, however, commercial success for Dr.Oetker failed to materialize.
But the team believed in Dr. Oetker, analyzed setbacks, drew conclusions, turned everything inside out, and started all over again. Again and again. Gradually, our colleagues managed to improve sales revenues. They introduced Dr. Oetker at trade fairs and presentations. Connections were made with major retailers in the country, and trusting partnerships developed over time. In addition, Georgi Gramenov’s team invested in advertising. Decisive steps! More and more consumers put their trust in Dr. Oetker.
“Even then, this recognition was the most important ingredient for us. It was about nothing less than changing long-lived habits that determined Bulgarian consumer behavior. It was a difficult, continuous process. But as soon as consumers tried our products, they were convinced.”
Irina Georgieva, Marketing Manager Dr. Oetker Bulgaria
Today Dr. Oetker Bulgaria is not only the market leader in baking ingredients and decorations as well as powder desserts but also sees itself as a trendsetter: The colleagues want to help shape and develop the culture in culinary terms. That is not easy because Bulgarians are known for their more traditional food preferences: “We have to think about that and at the same time pursue our goal of constantly bringing new innovative solutions and products to the market”, says Irina Georgieva.
The filling for one of the most popular Bulgarian desserts, the cookie cake, has been on sale since 2019 in vanilla and chocolate varieties.
Speaking of innovations – The Special Pudding for Cookie Cakes is an example of this approach. For the Bulgarians, the cookie cake is one of their most popular desserts. Before the Special Pudding came on the market, many consumers prepared the vanilla filling with the Original Pudding. However, the cream was firmer than the one they knew from home. A solution was needed: a powdered cream that was easy to prepare and pleasantly soft. Together with the Romanian colleagues, Dr. Oetker Bulgaria further developed a concept from the Croatian colleagues. The result: Sales figures skyrocketed, consumers were thrilled. There is hardly a greater compliment than "the cream tastes like homemade by my favorite grandma."
Angel Lozev replaced Georgi Gramenov as Managing Director in 2005. In the years that followed, Lozev and his team worked to become even more visible in the Bulgarian market. With success: Sales figures began to grow stably and steadily, right up to the present day. All the efforts and the incredible passion of the entire team finally paid off:
„We are a wonderful team of only eleven employees. Without flexibility and adaptability to the current market situation, good innovation policy, proper planning and management decisions at the right time, such success cannot be achieved.”
Angel Lozev, Managing Director Dr. Oetker Bulgaria
Today, it is impossible to imagine Bulgarian stores without the Dr. Oetker range. For Angel Lozev and his team, it is the greatest accolade that when consumers today hear the name Dr. Oetker, they think of vanilla cake or pizza.