Persistence, devotion, sincere work, and strong faith – this is how we could name the values of our partners – Baltic Food Distributing. They helped grow a small family business into one of the leading distribution companies in the United States. The selected products travel from Europe to more than 500 trading places located in the United States, which will soon find place for the products reflecting the traditional recipes and flavors of Biržų duona.
Founding history of Baltic Food Distributing
Julija Sedleckaitė, the Procurement Manager at Baltic Food Distributing, says that such growth and success of the business makes her happy every day, especially because of the changes that have taken place. According to her, one should think back in order to understand everything.
“Twenty years ago, it was difficult to find bread in Chicago that was at least somewhat similar to Lithuanian bread. Strange as it may seem, because now you can get shipped almost everything – 3 to 5 days and the parcel from Lithuania is already waiting at your door. We did not have such options before. Of course, those traveling by air could put small products in their luggage, but there were not so many flights as now”, J. Sedleckaitė talks about the situation we once had.
When not only the heart, but also the taste receptors were longing for the authentic Lithuanian flavors, fellow Lithuanians would take the map and embark on a long journey towards the bakery shops hoping to find products that were at least slightly similar to Lithuanian products.
„Jei kelionė į kepyklas būdavo sėkminga, tada prisikraudavome pilnus maišus produktų ir grįžę namo viską laikydavome šaldymo kamerose. Žinoma, asortimentas buvo labai skurdus – produktai tikrai neprilygo lietuviškiems gaminiams. Na, o tokia istorija – visų mūsų tautiečių praeities dalis. Visus vienijo tradicinių skonių ilgesys“, – dalijasi „Baltic Food Distributing“ pirkimų vadovė.
This is how the idea was born to start a company that would give our fellow Lithuanians an option to have some Lithuanian fresh delicacies at home without long wanderings and searches. Although such an idea was encouraged by inner confidence and desire, the first steps towards business were not easy.
“Imagine you come to a meeting with the store manager and present a product made in Lithuania: the packaging is of Lithuanian origin, the text is in Lithuanian language, the communication takes place in English language, but with strong accent. And you have to prove that this bread is an essential product. The tension is high – after all, everything is invested in purchased products that have already arrived in the USA. The founders of the company were very patient and persistent in pursuit of their goal making their way from one store to another. At times, it seemed like mission impossible”, J. Sedleckaitė tells the story of the activities of Baltic Food Distributing with admiration.
We are extremely joyful that such our deeds and efforts ultimately helped to create new market trends. Now in stores, Lithuanian products are placed in special departments decorated with the Lithuanian flag or next to products of American origin. According to the Procurement Manager at Baltic Food Distributing, this is a huge and significant change.
Baltic Food Distributing – a strategic partner of Biržų duona in the US market
In our opinion, cooperation with Baltic Food Distributing, one of the leading importers of Lithuanian products in the United States, is of great significance for Biržų duona.
“During the development of strategic plans for 2021, the United States was one of the key destinations for the export of goods. It is interesting and important because of its size and the prospects for expanding the market basket. Due to the wide range of opportunities, it is not easy to enter such a market. The highest quality requirements are raised, also consumer evaluation is essential”, Semionas Dančenko, the Export Manager at Biržų duona, shares his thoughts.
He also adds that the largest Lithuanian exporters are seeking to work with this company. “I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by Julija, the Procurement Manager, in less than an hour after I sent my request. Momentarily we started efficient communication and found common interests”, says S. Dančenko.
We believe that mutual understanding, view of products, customers, and partners was not only known from before, but also felt in the course of communication. J. Sedleckaitė emphasizes that the most important thing for them when choosing partners is their approach to business development, values, and principles of operation.
“Not only the impeccable product quality, but also the strong principles of value-based cooperation have been guiding us on the path of successful and responsible business for many years. Understanding, respect, and trust are of great importance to us”, J. Sedleckaitė names the governing principles of business ethics.
This view of our partners is also reflected in other areas. Although the business of Baltic Food Distributing takes place across the Atlantic, the Lithuanian identity – living and connecting – fostered by them team up our Lithuanian compatriots, who live there. By donating products, they support Lithuanian schools, organizations, sports and educational clubs, choirs, and camps established in the United States.
Biržų duona and the opportunity to diversify the variety of products in the United States
We probably won't be mistaken to say that Lithuanian produce in the United States gets the most attention from our fellow Lithuanians. However, J. Sedleckaitė notices that such products are also gradually diversifying the gastronomic experiences of the Americans. Not only bread, but also Lithuanian cookies and cakes get a lot of attention.
“Locals usually prefer white bread, but we also have customers, who find dark bread delicious. We also have an interesting situation with pastries. We notice that the commercial range of pastry goods is narrower in the US market. A few of the most popular types of biscuits and cakes prevail”, tells J. Sedleckaitė about the range of items across the Atlantic.
When considering market trends, it is important to mention that each region has its own characteristics.
“Demand is highly dependent on the current demographic situation and lifestyle. The price is also important. For example, Illinois and surrounding states are well known for their ethnic diversity, so their needs are distinct. The aspect that unites almost all states is quality product and customs. Customers appreciate our products, because they know that they are of good quality and that they have been tested by time,” says the Procurement Manager at Baltic Food Distributing.
We believe that in the long run we will be able to offer the most diverse pastry products by Biržų duona to the US market. We have no doubt that they will spice up the experience of every sweet tooth.
We at Biržų duona feel genuinely excited about the established new partnership and believe that business relations will become an example of sustainable, long-term friendship that cherishes meaningful traditions.