“We belong to a dynamic industry handling large product and turnover volumes,” says Dott. Thomas Siller, Distribution Manager of Bayernland Srl. “At the same time, we have to cope with tight profit margins and a lot of competition, which implies considerable risks. I believe it is vital to keep a tight and constant watch on costs.”
Indeed, the dairy market – or milk market in particular – has been subject to great uncertainties in recent years. Unexpected political decisions and the effects of globalization have been adding to this development.
“You have to be fast and flexible to take the right decisions,” adds Dott. Siller, who considers his task a welcome and exciting challenge. “The market is constantly changing, even at the production stage. We see great potential in Italy in the years to come, as we intend to expand our diversified and attractive product assortment and improve our service.”
Flexibility, customer service and market orientation have been characteristic of Bayernland Srl ever since the company was established as the Italian subsidiary of German Bayernland eG in 1970. At the time, Bayernland was a second-level cooperative with the function of a delivery platform for over 100 smaller Bavarian milk cooperatives.
“The reason for setting up a distribution base in the northern Italian town of Sterzing (South Tyrol) was as simple as far-sighted,” explains Dott. Siller. “While Bavaria was producing milk in excess on lush meadows, Italy’s dairy industry could only meet 60 to 65% of the total demand in the country’s hot climate. This situation has remained much the same until today.”
Starting with the supply of raw milk, Bayernland Srl soon gained a sound foothold in the Italian market. Rapid and successful development followed, encouraged by the close vicinity to the parent Bayernland eG in Nuremberg. “We were the first Bayernland subsidiary and have remained its most important one to this day,” points out Dott. Siller with justified pride. “As early as in 1973 and 1975, we were able to inaugurate two additional warehouses in Milan and Mantua. Over the years, we have gradually expanded our business activities in the middle and south of the country.”
When the food retail market changed due to the introduction of new chain stores and even discounters in the mid-1980s, Bayernland Srl proved its flexibility yet again. “We decided to serve the Italian market with branded products,” explains Dott. Siller. “Before long, the Bayernland brand was better known in Italian supermarkets than in German ones. While branded products are not quite so significant in Germany, private labels only account for 15% of the Italian market with the vast remainder held by quality brands with artisanal appeal.”
The company’s present assortment is a far cry from the small selection of milk products delivered in the 1970s. The range of delicious cheeses bearing the Bayernland brand includes all kinds of Bavarian and Italian specialities in chunks, slices, soft, hard and meltable form.
Handy consumer packs bearing the Bayernland logo and fresh company colours suggest hygiene, quality and savoury enjoyment. Bayernland not only means cheese, of course, but also yogurt, cream of milk and milk with a unique taste that keeps the organoleptic properties unaltered.
Wholesome and mouth-watering desserts are among the new additions to the range. “We will continue to meet market trends and consumer demands,” comments Dott. Siller. “Our new lactose-free products are among our most important developments. We have been offering lactose-free mozzarella cheese and cutting cheese for two years now and met with an excellent response from the market.”
Since its foundation in 1970, Bayernland Srl has had a considerable impact on the Italian dairy industry. The South-Tyrolean enterprise has 50 qualified and motivated employees and an annual turnover of 140 million EUR – plus another 60 million EUR in sales from direct contracts between German and Italian dairies brokered by Bayernland and for which it collects a commission fee.
“In the early 1990s we decided to expand our distribution concept with the approval of Bayernland eG,” says Dott. Siller. “Our partners benefit from our existing distribution structure and logistic platform. Without such a platform, large parts of the Italian market would be inaccessible.”
Well-established in the whole of Italy, the Bayernland brand is associated with a fine selection of products, dependable quality and realistic pricing. “It is also a matter of confidence,” points our Dott. Siller. “Some Italian dairy products may be more creative or trendy, but production in Germany is subject to the highest quality and hygiene standards, so Bayernland represents German quality and consistency.”
Plans are to add further products to the existing range so that Bayernland clients can obtain all their dairy specialities from a single source, along with exemplary service.