Innovative juices, spreads, jams, cheeses, pies... – Desing Taste Center gathering startups and SMEs
Design Taste Center of the company Desing has gathered startups and small and medium enterprises in order to provide them with practical training courses to the end of increasing their development capacity and competitiveness in local and foreign markets. Let us remind that BIPS hub is also taking part in this USAID project.
This year, the Premium Food Design Hub (DTC Hub) has picked nine companies from the food industry of the total of 17 which applied and which operate in the segment of fruit and vegetable processing, specializing in the production of functional food, organic food, food for children, fruit and vegetable spreads, healthy snacks, high-protein plant food and nutritive bars.
These are: Agro Iris, Cold Pressok, HipBerry and Honey Immuniser, Leta SNB, Pekara Kljuc doo, Konmark, Zivi 100 doo (Vegapcic) and Candymoo (the CandyMoo team of students from the Faculty of Agriculture in Belgrade, this year's winner at the national contest Ekotrofelija Srbija).
– The selected startups and SMEs will have an opportunity to go through a specially created program of individual and group activities and training course of nine months, with an intensive development camp of three months, which will cover the follow fields: food technologies, industrial and web design, promotional activities and B2B events, access to markets and access to sources of finance – the manager of the project, Ana Popovic, told eKapija.
Who are the participants of DTC Hub?
Zadruga is a brand of the social enterprise Agro Iris from Sabac. Small agricultural producers pick fruit at their family orchards, and Zadruga then processes it at its mobile drying plants, using state-of-the-art methods, and then packages it without any additives or artificial aromas and sends it to sales outlets throughout Serbia.
– Our range of products currently consists of pitted prunes, sliced dried pears, apple chops, dried pumpkin chips and dried beetroot chips – says the director of the company, Mladen Stankovic.
He adds that Desing Taste Center provides them with everything they need in this phase of development, especially the enhancement of capacities, in order to successfully address all the market challenges while protecting their social mission.
The Belgrade-based Cold Pressok was founded in 2013. They produce cold-pressed juices in the Serbian market. Their juice offer features over 30 different recipes, from vegetable-based green juices and functional boosters to exotic full-flavored smoothies.
– The products feature no additives and are not heat-processed, there is no added sugar or preservatives. Cold Pressok has expanded its offer to include plant-based milks and vegan burgers made of nuts – says the director, Sandra Avramovski.
She adds that their operations focus on continuous innovations and development of new technologies and recipes and that entering DCT Hub is a natural extension of the further development.
HipBerry and Honey Immuniser
The Igor Djurdjevic farm from Lajkovac presented Immuniser as a winning combination of honey and rose-hip. As a fully natural product for the strengthening of immunity, better digestion, better skin and detoxing, Immuniser was practically born out of personal need to take care of health in a natural way.
– DTC has recognized quality and the need to work with us, as we want to make a new product and to present it both in Serbia and abroad. It is also very important for us to be supported in participating in international fairs, such as PLMA in Amsterdam, Fruit Logstika and many others – Snezana Djurdjevic points out.
Leta SNB is a family company from Subotica (Palic), which dries and processes fruit and vegetables. The product which started it all was the dried tomato. They also started producing tomato juice, which is made without any spices or additives.
– Having procured new equipment and having adopted new production processes, we also introduced the following products: hot pepper preserve, apricot, plum and strawberry jams, strawberry and sour cherry preserves and dried tomatoes with olive oil. We have our own production facility in Palic, including: a cooling plant for temporary storage of fruit and vegetables, a drying plant for fruit and vegetables, mashing, cooking and filling equipment, a pasteurizer, a packing device and various other equipment and tools. We produce naturally, using family recipes and completely eschewing artificial additives and preservatives – Srdjan Uzelac explains.
Leta SNB produces hot pepper preserve (Photo: Leta SNB)
He added that, for the project of Desing and the USAID, they had qualified with three products – dried tomatoes in a PVC packaging, dried tomatoes in olive oil and a hot pepper preserve. They expect experts from Desing to help them improve their operations, primarily in the fields of production-technological processes, marketing activities and sales activities.
The Belgrade-based bakery Kljuc has been present in the market since 2006. It is famous for its pies with home-made crust and over 30 different fillings. The production focuses on traditional products, and in addition to pies, they also offer cornbread, traditional cakes etc.
– We are always trying to innovate. The latest in the line of our innovations is the vegetarian buckwheat pie filled with malted wheat and mushrooms. Also, we try to come up with new flavors and ways of preparation day after day – Ivana Nikolic says.
They were motivated to take part in the project by their desire to win new markets and create new products with the help of top experts.
The company Polo from Cacak was founded in 1991. They initially produced vinegar and distributed acetic acid and then they expanded their activities to fruit and vegetable processing. The company now boasts a wide range of processed fruit and vegetable products. Their offer consists of over 30 products.
– We expect that, within this project, we will be able to create products which will be premium products in every way. Our motive for joining this project is the positive experience of last year's participants, as well as the quality of the products created – says Bosko Jovanovic.
Konmark was founded in 2007, since when they have been processing forest fruit and mushrooms, with spreads made of porcino and chanterelle mushroom standing out among their products. In the village of Gradska, municipality of Crna Trava, they have established a facility for the processing of forest fruits.
– Our products have a special value, as they are collected in the area of Vlasina, a mountain which is a protected natural good of national importance. It should be mentioned that the nearest industrial facility is 35 kilometers away from our facility and that chemicals or modern methods, especially those pertaining to agriculture, have practically never been applied – points out Dejan Stulovic.
The CandyMoo team consists of students Jana Simonovic, Ana Nedeljkovic, Marija Hristov, Dejana Kolovic, Dusan Djuric, Nikola Mimic and their mentors, Dr Jelena Miocinovic and Dr Zorana Miloradovic. They won the said contest, organized by the Association of Food Technologists of Serbia.
– At the contest, we presented our innovative and ecological premium product MOCaMELA, a cheese with honey and molasses. The cheese is coated in beeswax, enhancing its appearance and emphasizing the importance of natural materials. Molasses is a byproduct in the sugar industry, which hasn't been used for the preparation of food products in significant quantities so far. The product was first made at the faculty, and we later had the opportunity to produce it industrially thanks to the Granice dairy from Mladenovac – Miocinovic explains.
MOCaMELA cheese with honey and molasses (Photo: CandyMoo)
She adds that taking part in the Premium Food Design Hub is an opportunity for them to enhance their knowledge and to perfect their product.
– The next step, that we are intensively moving forward to, is to prepare for the European contest Ecotrophelia Europe 2019, where we will have an opportunity to present our product to an expert jury – Miocinovic announces.