After two years of establishing its own commercial structure in the country, the Venezuelan Empresas Polar, through Alimentos Polar Ecuador, has plans to expand. Traditional PAN corn flour is a symbolic product of the company whose annual sales in Ecuador last year amounted to 12 million dollars, and the business is expected to double in the next three years, with the introduction of new products and the growth and massification of flour.
This indicates that Christian Robles, commercial manager of the brand in the territory of Ecuador. When they took over the business in Ecuador, they had “only two items” in the flour category on the market, and in these two years, two varieties, two sizes, white and yellow flour of 500 grams, launched from April to May of the past year. “At the end of 2022, we introduced a variant of wholemeal flour, and with that we already have practically three most important variants: white flour, which is used to make arepas; yellow flour for making corn tortillas or empanadas and wholemeal”.
Venezuelan Polar establishes a company in Ecuador with the aim of consolidating its PAN brand and introducing other products
They plan to incorporate others: the sweet flour used to make cachapas (Pancakes), and until the end of the year flour intended for people who want to take care of their health.
Robles comments that with the 500 gram products, they won over the consumer who tests them and when he feels satisfied, he decides on a kilo.
At the regional level, Ecuador ranks third in terms of company sales, after Venezuela and Colombia. “We have grown in market share, in sales, and we expect to double our business in three years.”
They import an average of 700 tons of flour per month, with which they cover supermarkets, shops, wholesalers, convenience stores, etc.
“We found that per capita consumption in Ecuador is still low and that is an opportunity we are still working on. It is about 400 to 500 grams per year per person and we have plans to increase consumption, including tastings and exhibitions in the country,” he says.
Polar, the main food company in Venezuela, has “temporarily” suspended the production of pasta
Installation of lubrication products in Ecuador
Since February, they have introduced three new namaz options. Margarine and mayonnaise brands Mavesa and spread based on processed cheese with the taste of cheddar brand Rikesa, which according to Robles are well positioned in Venezuela, and are also in demand in Ecuador. They hope to capture between 3% and 5% of the market.
“We saw an opportunity to capitalize on the brands we already have and as a global company we’re always looking at those brands or products that will really have potential for growth or expansion,” he says.
As part of their expansion plans, they also plan to bring beverages into the country, such as Polar beer, although there’s no confirmed date for that yet, “but it’s something that’s coming.”
The installation of a factory in Ecuador is currently not planned. “We are not clear if we will have a factory here, if we will continue to import, we will have a business partner who will produce here locally, we are still considering those options, while we conquer the market. Now, for now, we are just introducing the brand, we see the potential and as the business grows, eventually we will have to explore these possibilities in more detail”.
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