HOW LIDL HELPED LITHUANIAN SEAFOOD PROCESSOR GROW
How Lidl helped Lithuanian seafood processor grow. Every year Lidl Lietuva helps Lithuanian companies to go global, exporting their products to other countries in which the retail chain operates. Some of the Lithuanian producers established working relationships with Lidl long before the retail chain started operating in Lithuania. Today, one of these producers, Viciunai Group, sells its seafood products through Lidl stores in almost every country of the European Union.
“For many years, we have been helping Lithuanian manufacturers to successfully reach international markets, and this year we are offering an even wider range of Lithuanian products in international Lidl stores. We believe we will continue to be the platform that opens up more opportunities to Lithuanian businesses,” said Lukas Gudas, Purchasing Director at Lidl Lietuva.
According to Gudas, some Lithuanian suppliers were well-known in the countries where Lidl operates before the retail chain began its activities in our country. One of them is Viciunai Group – Lidl’s customers in many countries have enjoyed its products for 12 years already. The retailer’s Purchasing Director is certain that Lidl’s presence in Lithuania has helped the country’s suppliers to discover their export niches in the European market even more.
Šarūnas Matijošaitis, Chairman of the Board of Viciunai Group, shared that Viciunai Group and Lidl have a history of exceptional cooperation:
“We are the oldest supplier for this retail chain in Lithuania – we have been working together since 2008, when we started supplying crab sticks to the retailer’s stores in Central and Eastern European countries. In more than a decade, our relationship has been getting closer, and today Vici and our other products are available in Lidl stores in every EU country except Malta.”
For European customers Viciunai Group offers a total of 40 different products, 12 of which are sold under the Vici brand and 28 under the Lidl brand. The company offers surimi, salmon, fish steaks, salads, gyoza dumplings, and even pancakes.
According to Matijošaitis, the way the companies cooperate is special in that such issues as the expansion of product range are negotiated both with Lidl’s representatives in each country, and with the retailer’s headquarters in Germany: “This makes our partnership not only very flexible but also strategic, because Vici products become available much easier on the European scale. We highly appreciate the opportunity to market ourselves in these stores as both a Lithuanian and pan-European producer.
According to Matijošaitis, even huge marketing budgets or exclusive packaging will not help you to compete successfully in all the key regions of Europe if the manufacturer’s product is simply not delicious, healthy, and easy to use.
“In order to win the hearts of customers, a producer requires long, methodical and consistent work, large investments and top-level production processes. For us it has taken 12 years of persistent growth in Lidl’s retail chain to reach the position we are in today. However, once you are on the right path, all the effort will eventually pay off in the form of a strong base of loyal customers – for which we are grateful to Lidl,” the Chairman said.
He added that Viciunai Group has sales and distribution companies in many countries which also facilitate Vici promotion and business expansion abroad. And the local Europeans working in these companies feel what is most relevant for their home customers and how to seize opportunities in their home markets.
The Chairman of the Board at Viciunai Group believes that solidarity with Lithuanian producers is especially necessary during this period: “At this time, all the key players that keep the economy going are showing willingness to help one another – including retail chains, producers, and customers. This is a great opportunity to develop the desire to prioritise Lithuanian goods, which might remain even after the crisis.
However, Matijošaitis admitted that for such larger-scale producers as Viciunai Group, it may not be enough to show better results in Lithuania, since 95% of the company’s products are sold in foreign markets: “We believe that our advantages will be the large customer base that we have developed over the years, the growing awareness of the Vici brand in Europe, as well as good relationship with our closest partners, and Lidl is undoubtedly one of them.”