Vion Convenience: Intrigue from the food retail industry
Johannes Kölker, 53, has been Managing Director of Vion Convenience GmbH in Großostheim since the beginning of the year. Before this, he had worked in different roles at Vion, including Head of Corporate Marketing and most recently as Sales Director for Retail Home Markets in the Beef Division. In this interview, he explains why he thinks Vion still has great opportunities in the German market.
Mr Kölker, what incentivises you to work as Managing Director of Vion Convenience GmbH?
Kölker: More and more people buy meat in the supermarket off the self-service shelf. The number is now more than 50 % and it is continually growing. The segment has an enormous potential that we want to exploit. We will boost our efforts in the self-service sector to exploit this huge potential for Vion.
How can this be done?
Kölker: We are Vion’s spearhead in trade. With our important strategic partners, we are making significant progress. The food retail market is increasingly recognising Vion’s performance strength. This is due to Vion’s nationwide regional presence on the one hand. As a result, we have the necessary raw goods in a sizeable amount and at top quality.
On the other hand, we are increasingly seen as a conceptually strong partner due to our long-term, consumer-oriented category management. What also makes us unique in trade are three strong USPs: beef, organic, Bavarian!
What does this mean in practice?
Kölker: Due to Vion’s beef skills, we were, for example, the first to be able to develop a comprehensive line of “New Steak Cuts” to meet consumer demand for ever new, exciting steak cuts for the grill. Alongside the classics like fillet, point and rump steak, our steak range now also includes the so-called “New Cuts” of Flat Iron, Hanging Tender, Tri-Tip Steak, Top Butt Flap, Flanksteak, Chuck Eye Steak, Chuck Tenderloin and Petit Tender. Our outstanding steak quality benefits from Vion’s position as the German market and skills leader regarding beef. The “New Steak Cuts” are matured for 28 days on the practical flatboard and bring real added value to every self-service shelf. We do not need to shy away from comparison to top products from the USA and South America.
For the premium “New Steak Cuts”, why did you choose a flatboard?
Kölker: The rear of the packaging is made of cardboard. This way, we reduce plastic by at least 60 % compared to traditional packaging. We want to meet our environmental responsibilities.
A keyword you use is organic. What are your plans with this?
Kölker: We think that the organic sector is an ever growing and therefore highly attractive niche. We already have a strong position in this segment as a supplier to private labels. For some years, we have supplied individual national retail chains with organic pork and beef products exclusively.
Today, people are more astute about what they eat and seek a balanced diet. On this matter, have you got a surprise in your portfolio?
Kölker: With our new quinoa and beef pan fry, we are currently introducing a very attractive product onto the food retail market. A crop originating from South America, quinoa is considered a superfood today due to its protein and vitamin content. It comes in these varieties: Curry, Bacon, Red Beet and Asia.
The reactions among our trade partners are very positive and promising. Initial campaigns have already begun.
Further convenience products are currently in development. One can only wait in suspense!