“Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution”, one of the largest importers and distributors of Eastern European food products in the United Kingdom and Ireland, takes care of the development of Lithuanian, Eastern European products. The Lithuanian family business, founded back in 2002, gives compatriots living abroad the opportunity to buy and enjoy Lithuanian products, the taste of which brings back to the nostalgic homeland at least for a while. Our friendship with these partners has been going on for ten years - for so many years we have been nurturing a partnership that is one of the most important business values for both “Biržų duona” and our partners.
History of “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution”
Semionas Dančenko, the Export Manager of “Biržų duona” says that “even the name of the company directs us to Lithuania, it symbolizes Lithuanianness. It can be said that this is a kind of corner of Lithuanian products in the United Kingdom”. And indeed, Rasa Apostol, the Director of “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution”, shares that the idea to create the company began with patriotism, a strong longing for Lithuanian products and dishes.
“Like many businesses abroad, our company was founded after feeling nostalgia for Lithuanian cuisine and traditional tastes. At that time, Lithuania was not yet a member of the European Union, it was not so easy to travel and live abroad, and traditional Lithuanian products were hard to find. We decided that it is necessary to fill this niche in the market and bring the “taste of home” to England not only for ourselves, but also for other compatriots,” narrates the company founder Rasa Apostol.
Thanks to these partners, Lithuanians living abroad can find their favorite products, cook long-awaited, traditional Lithuanian dishes and thus feel a part of their native land near them.
The Basis of Family Business is Cooperation and Responsibility
It would seem that “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” has already grown from a family business to a large corporation, where the chamber business atmosphere is a thing of the past. However, according to R. Apostol, the company will always remain a family business, the foundation of which is built on open cooperation.
“Just as every family grows, so does our business, the number of employees increases. Development is very important to us, we seek to gain experience from other businesses, we are always open to new ideas and technologies. A good, loyal team and daily sincere work, the desire to present the customer with what he/she needs and anticipate what he/she will need are the main principles that guide us in our company”, – the founder of ‘Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” tells us about the importance of cooperation and foresight.
According to the entrepreneur, since the beginning of the activity, efforts have been made to listen and understand the needs of the potential consumer, to help retail companies develop their ideas.
“Business cannot be successful if you only think about yourself, so it can be said that we have a double mission – to improve the quality of life and activity not only for our team, customers, but also for manufacturers and suppliers,” narrates R. Apostol.
“Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” fosters community spirit by getting involved in various initiatives and organizations. The company actively supports the Lithuanian community in the United Kingdom, is a member of the Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (Vilnius CCIC), which unites more than 500 Lithuanian companies from various business sectors. It also helps the Lithuanian towns of Dotnuva and Akademija, where the family of entrepreneur R. Apostol comes from.
“We try to monitor and provide specific help to those who have fallen on hard times. I think that big goals, strong relationships and fellowship are created by small, simple, but sincere actions,” the Director shares her thoughts of “Lituanica Retail and Food service Distribution”.
Despite involvement in various Lithuanian communities, R. Apostol adds that the company is open to various cultures and communities. After all, the team is multicultural, employees come from as many as 15 different parts of the world. Thus, the entrepreneur maintains relations with the Christian and Catholic Church of Great Britain, participates in the activities of various municipalities, and contributes to local charity initiatives.
As another extremely important aspect of business philosophy, R. Apostol emphasizes responsibility and promptness, which are especially important when managing logistics processes.
“One of the strongest and most important aspects of our business is logistics – an uninterrupted supply chain of products, the delivery of products without any violation of the temperature regime. We have the “BRC Food Standard” certificate, which is recognized in the global food trade and has the maximum rating. Therefore, we can confidently assure the manufacturer that their product will remain safe in our supply chain, and that the highest quality product will reach the customer. In addition, we are members of the “Cold Chain Federation”, we actively participate in the forum where we share innovative ideas with other companies,” says the founder of the company.
Businesses engaged in wholesale and retail trade in Great Britain are gradually setting increasingly strict standards of cooperation, high requirements, which opens up even greater opportunities for our partners to expand and build relationships with other companies.
Lithuanian Products Abroad are an Untapped Perspective
For its customers, “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” strives not only to ensure smooth logistic processes, service quality, but also a variety of food products. According to R. Apostol, Lithuanian products have great potential and can fill different niches of food products and adapt to prevailing nutritional trends.
“New winds of gastronomy and healthy eating trends always adjust the needs of consumers, so the business must definitely react to it. It is quite easy for us, because Lithuanian products such as kefir, pickled cucumbers or cabbages can become a new discovery for customers and compete with new healthy food ideas. In addition, we notice that naturally smoked meat, black bread are becoming incredibly popular at London's farmers markets. Therefore, we have a lot of work and a good opportunity to fill this niche”, the interviewer says about the variety of Lithuanian products.
The Friendship between “Biržų duona” and “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” Counts a Decade
We are extremely happy to hear that although the beginning of cooperation with partners began quite a long time ago, in 2012, the first moments of meeting are still vivid.
“I remember the beginning of my friendship with “Biržų duona” very vividly. I remember a trip to Biržai. The family environment got stuck to my memory then. Viktoras Kurganovas and Andrius Kurganovas showed the whole “farm”, the production process, and shared their future plans. I thought that bread baked with love not only delights the taste receptors, but also gives an intangible, special energy. It was the real truth, none of the products that were tasted and put on sale failed to disappoint. I would say that both the taste of the products and the concept of the products are perfectly developed”, – R. Apostol does not spare nice words for us.
S. Dančenko, the Export Manager of “Biržų duona” adds that the cooperation is very productive, the goals and approaches coincide, so every issue is solved efficiently. We are mutually happy with simple communication and admire the partners' ability to ensure all logistical processes, attention to the customer, and product quality. Trust, a close look at changing market trends, sharing knowledge helps us achieve our strategic goals and leads us towards successful development.
Here is one of the latest common ideas – to supply to the United Kingdom not only bread and confectionery products, but also frozen products, which are currently becoming more and more popular in both the Lithuanian and British markets.
“We are very happy that we can offer the clients of “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” a wider assortment, which was recently supplemented by our frozen bread products, cookies, donuts, buns with sausage. Undoubtedly, the trade potential is high, and we are working purposefully together with our partners to make the development of the range successful”, shares S. Dančenko.
“Biržų duona” especially appreciates such a partnership and hopes that many more decades of smooth, high-quality, and sincere cooperation with “Lituanica Retail and Food Service Distribution” are yet to come.