Zoran Mitić, Director, Dr Oetker Srbija

We Offer Consumers Joy

Dr Oetker will be celebrating two decades of its existence in Serbia next year, while in Germany the brand will celebrate 130 years of operations. It operates today in more than 40 countries, has more than 16,000 workers and 3,500 different products, but is continuing to expand and works constantly on innovations

Dr Oetker has a traditional range that persists thanks to the brand’s loyal consumers. Despite its leading position in the segment of cake preparation products, Dr Oetker follows all changes on the market, developing and expanding precisely those groups of products that follow the lifestyle of modern people.

What is it like to lead such a unique company?

– I would say that the most accurate answer is ‘challenging’. From the beginning, our goal in Serbia was first to return the brand to the market, to complete the acquisition of Centroproizvod and, finally, to construct a factory where our products would be produced according to the highest standards of quality. Of course, throughout this entire journey, we’ve been working constantly to advance our people, to improve our processes and corporate culture, so – as such – we’ve implemented the most modern tools in all areas of operations.

We presume that your product range varies from market to market, but that you insist on high standards in business and product quality wherever you operate…

– Understanding the similarities and differences between consumers in different countries is very important for a company like Dr Oetker. Each country strives to adapt its offer to the needs of its market. Among varying countries there are the same products, but also completely different groups of products that are specific only to certain markets and the tastes of their population.

Dr Oetker baking powder is of uniform quality and is a wellknown product that’s present on a large number of markets, but cake mixes are adapted to the tastes and habits of consumers in different countries. What is common and unique in all Dr Oetker member countries are the standards and quality that we strive to achieve uncompromisingly in every business process.

The requirements for the quality and safety of our products are based on the same standards and internal guidelines at all Dr Oetker factories worldwide. The certificates that we possess are part of a global certification matrix, which ensures a high level of quality and an absolutely safe product, regardless of the country in which it is produced.

The requirements for the quality and safety of our products are based on the same standards and internal guidelines at all Dr Oetker factories worldwide

Dr Oetker is known everywhere as one of the most socially responsible companies. Has the pandemic only strengthened your concern for employees and the communities in which you operate?

– Thanks to responsible operations and dedicated, hard-working employees, during the period of the state of emergency and tough economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, our company ensured the regular and full payment of salaries for all employees.

The company’s management waived the assistance offered by the Government of the Republic of Serbia that was intended for businesses, in the form of a package of tax breaks and direct payments of the net minimum wage for every employee. We felt that this help was needed by companies that were particularly hard hit by this crisis, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. As such, we at Dr Oetker Srbija considered it socially responsible and patriotic to leave that help for them.

Apart from caring for employees during these uncertain and difficult times, we at Dr Oetker Srbija believe that all members of the community should do what is in their power to help those on the front line of the struggle against the pandemic and those for whom help means the most. It is for this reason that we’ve turned to what we do best and donated our products to institutions nationwide.

We donated, to the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, the Institute for Pulmonary Diseases of Vojvodina in Sremska Kamenica and the Clinical Centre in Niš, our instant products for quick preparation, which include oatmeal, muesli and milkshakes, while the SOS Children’s Village “Dr Milorad Pavlović” in Sremska Kamenica, the Red Cross of Serbia and the Foundation SOS Children’s Villages of Serbia in Belgrade, Zemun, Kraljevo and Niš received our products from the range for the preparation of sweet confectionery products.

The Dr Oetker family owners and company have for decades shown strong support to families, i.e. children and parents, in the most diverse ways. SOS Children’s Villages is just one of the many organisations with which you have enduring cooperation? Tell us more about that…

– It was in 2011 that Dr Oetker Srbija established cooperation with the SOS Children’s Village in Kraljevo, and the “Kinderdorf SOS International” institution at the international level, which cares for children and youth. We recognised the importance and contribution of this organisation in providing a family home for children without parental care and we very happily provide support and our contribution to ensuring this beautiful story really endures. Our wish, not only for children but also for ourselves, is to have beautiful memories from the large number of gatherings that we organise together. The aim of our many years of friendship is to elicit smiles on the faces of each of the several hundred children that this organisation cares for.

This year we went a step further and launched puddings that are prepared in a cup. All you have to do is add milk and blend well, which is a response to new market trends

In which ways do your current customers differ from those you had a few decades ago, and what will the consumers of the future look like?

– No oranisation, not even the smallest, can or should neglect the consumer and their behaviour, because it is precisely the behaviour of consumers that has the greatest impact on profit and business success. Throughout all these years, Dr Oetker has been offering its consumers the joy of preparing delicious, beloved cakes and desserts in the most affordable form and the best quality. From traditional additives for preparing desserts, through cake mixes that simplify their preparation, to oatmeal, as a quick solution for breakfast or a snack.

By turning towards changes on the market, Dr Oetker has combined quality and competencies with its range, making its products available to its consumers in the form of simple preparations. We live today in the time of digitalisation, when the flow of information is faster than ever before, as is the availability of products, while consumer tastes are becoming ever more demanding and the time available for baking and preparing desserts is constantly reducing.

Our traditional range still resists the changes of this time, because we have loyal consumers and occupy a leading position when it comes to this segment of products intended for the preparation of cakes. However, as we are orientated towards the market and follow the changes that are happening, we develop and expand precisely those groups of products that shorten preparation times and are the most suitable companions to the lifestyle of the modern consumer. Our wide range of cake mixes testifies to that. For example, in order to make cornbread quickly and easily, with a small number of ingredients, you need the Dr Oetker cornbread mixture, 100ml of carbonated mineral water and 400ml of oil, and the job’s done, after 25 minutes of baking. You can opt to add other ingredients, such as cheese. Do you have a quicker recipe than Dr Oetker? Or a recipe for vanilla custard slice filling… All you need to do is add 800ml of milk and the filling is ready.

In addition to cake mixes, we also have oatmeal, which is known as a high-quality and fast meal that’s ready in three minutes, a wide range of puddings, cream puddings that don’t need to be cooked, instant desserts and many other high-quality products.

This year we went a step further and launched puddings that are prepared in a cup. All you have to do is add milk and blend well, which is a response to new market trends. On the other hand, the health trend also defines the target group and in the future will have an even greater impact on consumer behaviour. The development of products that help to more quickly and easily prepare healthier meals is definitely one of the areas in the focus of Dr Oetker. Responses to this trend are oatmeals and cereal mixes made from different types of cereals, created with the intention of enabling consumers to also consume this type of product.

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