ZFG produces a number of highly valued export brands. These brands have in common that they represent top quality products and, without exception, enjoy excellent market positions in the countries of distribution.
The world famous Zwan brand enjoys considerable international prestige, while a number of other brands occupy prominent regional market positions. The Zwan brand has a longstanding reputation worldwide in the sector of high quality canned meats. To maintain and to further this reputation, Zwan devotes much effort to advertising and promotion. In these activities, it does not operate alone but in close collaboration with its local importers. Zwan supports them with a marketing budget to sustain the brand's high market position, and can provide a wide range of promotion material.
The company has been attaining cost leadership in all the sectors in which the company is active. This is achieved by economies of scale and superior production efficiency. Zwanenberg Food Group's size and production volumes position the group well to develop other markets successfully and profitably.
Thanks to advanced production methods, Zwanenberg Food Group is able to produce chicken, beef and pork products under private label.
Since 1994, Zwanenberg Food Group has specialised in producing halal products using certified halal raw materials. In the course of its years of catering to this market, ZFG has selected a limited number of highly reliable suppliers. The entire production is conducted in strict isolation and under close supervision. ZFG markets these products under its own brand name and under private labels and exports them across the world. The halal certificate is periodically tested against strict criteria.
Zwanenberg is the sponsor of First Division football club FC Twente for many years. The objective is twofold. Firstly, this form of communication has helped to substantially improve Zwanenberg's name familiarity. Dutch First Division football is extensively televised in the Netherlands. Furthermore, this initiative has improved company recognition and popularity on the labour market. Secondly, Zwanenberg uses its sponsorship of FC Twente as a relationship marketing instrument. Major customers and other key stakeholders are regularly invited to attend one of FC Twente's home matches. There are opportunities to exchange the latest industry news in the stadium, see old friends and make new friends and acquaintances.5
ZFG has 14 production facilities in the Netherlands and the United kingdom and sales offices in the Benelux, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. ZFG exports its quality sausages to over 100 countries worldwide, with Zwan products on offer in 74 countries worldwide.
ZFG exports its meat and sausage products and canned meats to a great many countries worldwide, including Europe, the United States of America, the Middle East, the Far East, West Africa, Asia and Australia.
In most regions, ZFG works with independent agents and importers. Around half of ZFG's product volume is destined for export.
Zwan Export is, by tradition, very internationally-minded. It has its own shipping department to arrange and oversee the transport of its top quality salamis. ZFG is perfectly equipped for the export market. In the interest of updates and support, its export managers frequently visit the importing countries to inspect local conditions and to see for themselves the challenges that agents and sales offices face, and to offer appropriate assistance. They are involved to gain first-hand knowledge of developing consumer habits and the latest market trends.
1.4.3. Quality assurance
Product and process quality are given the highest priority at Zwanenberg Food Group. The group's production facilities are all HACCP certified (HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). HACCP is a process management system, which allows ZFG to guarantee the food safety of the products it produces. Working to HACCP principles entails identifying all the critical points in the production process and then instituting control measures to ensure that the process meets quality standards at all times. Both the exporting producers within the Zwanenberg Food Group and the distribution centre in Aalsmeer have been awarded a CEE accreditation. Zwanenberg Food Group has its own laboratory and internal quality control department. Suppliers are audited and raw materials checked rigorously at company laboratories. The traffic light procedure for suppliers is used. Only suppliers with a green light are allowed to deliver their products to Zwanenberg companies. Suppliers with a red light are not allowed to deliver and those with an orange light have to be double-checked. All the results of the monitoring procedure are communicated with the supplier. Detection methods for rapid and accurate indication of the presence of contaminants or undesired micro-organisms were developed. An example is the Calux analysis for rapid dioxin analysis. Furthermore, many Zwanenberg subsidiaries are BRC (British Retail Consortium) and /or IFS (International Food Standard) certified. Both of these quality systems require the institution of adequate verification procedures, quality checks and process monitoring of any aspects that are directly or indirectly associated with the production process, such as employees, factory fittings, systems, hygiene in the broadest sense, product specifications and packaging, building design and factory site layout. 6
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