As inextricable part of a country’s culture, food may be its flagship and pride. If you strive to get to know some of the culture of Poland and taste the traditional Polish cuisine, turn to the products offered by Virtu.
Present on the Polish market since 1992, the company specializes in the production of both fresh and frozen ready-to-serve meals, many of which are deeply rooted in the Polish culinary tradition. Written by Anna Chudzik
Stages of development
Functioning under the name Virtu Sp. j. B. Vetulani, D. Mikulska, the company is the leading Polish manufacturer of delicatessen food, both fresh and frozen. It was established in 1992 in Zawiercie as a small family business named Wytwórnia Garmażeryjna Piotr Kotowicz. During the first six years of activity, the company employed only a few people. At the beginning its registered office was situated in a private house, in which only a few rooms served as a shop floor and storehouse. The first receivers of products, delivered by the owner himself, were mainly local shops and wholesale outlets in the Silesia region. In 1999 the company changed its name into Virtu. What was crucial to the development of Virtu was its cooperation with chains of supermarkets, such as Makro Cash and Carry, which proved to be strategic business partners. Between 1998 and 2000 the group of Virtu receivers was joined also by Ahold, Tesco and Marcpol. A sudden growth in demand for ready-to-serve products resulted in the company’s increasing the scale of production and adjusting it to new market needs. Therefore, Virtu decided to add new products to the offer. Another landmark moment which came down in the history of the company was 1998, when Virtu opened a new production hall, situated next to the owners’ house. At that time the Virtu staff consisted of about 30 members, but the company systematically increased the number of employees. Moreover, the firm started to put emphasis on the promotion of its products, thus organizing numerous advertising campaigns and products tastings, which resulted in the growth of sales all over Poland. In 2003 Virtue bought a modern and bigger shop floor, where the production has taken place to date. The circle of customers has also expanded to include Geant, Carrefour, Real, Netto, Polomarket, Leclerc, Auchan, Billa, Selgros Cash and Carry, Jeronimo Martins, as well as other wholesale and retail outlets and the military. Over all the years of activity the company has strived to meet the latest market trends, thus enlarging and modernizing the premises and storage space. On the other hand, Virtu has not forgotten to invest into technologically advanced machines, devices and computer systems. The latest modernizations have been carried out so that the factory would comply with the requirements imposed by the European Union. In 2006 the company received the trade permit in the EU.
Traditional Polish dishes and more…
From the initial stages of its activity Virtu has strived to respond to its customers’ needs. Currently, the offer of Virtu includes more than 50 products, among which one can find traditional Polish dishes, such as pierogi, which can be stuffed with meat, sauerkraut and/or with mushrooms, cottage cheese and raisins, and cheese and potatoes (also called ruskie). Pierogi, together with potato dumplings, are available also in a frozen form. In the category of the read-to-serve dishes the most outstanding products are bigos, which is a stewed dish made of sauerkraut with sausage and mushrooms, fasolka po bretońsku (beans with bacon and sausage in tomato sauce), gołąbki (stuffed cabbage) or łazanki (small square noodle with sauerkraut and mushrooms). Apart from the Polish delicacies, one can find in the company’s assortment more universal dishes, such as pancakes, patties, croquettes, pizzas or baguettes. Each product manufactured by Vitru has its specific recipient, which is why all of them are equally important for the company. For the last 5 years Poland has seen the growth in the consumption of ready-to-serve meals. Although the money earmarked by Poles for these products is considerably less than in other European countries, the modern tendencies of life make “convenience food” industry extremely popular. Nowadays, especially young people, tend to live faster, work more intensively and, as a consequence, value their free time. Therefore, instead of wasting time on cooking, they prefer to turn to ready solutions. However, the food they eat should be similar to home-made dishes. Vitru makes an effort to anticipate those needs by offering tasty, easy to prepare and widely accessible dishes. The above-mentioned qualities make the consumers go back to Vitru.
One of the main principles of Virtu is to deliver the products of top quality and, at the same time, at reasonably price. When compared to other brands, exactly those two features characterize Virtu on the market. The ultimate goal is to live up to the customers’ expectations and satisfy their needs. The company constantly invests into the development and tries to widen its offer range. In 2010 it is going to introduce 4 new products into the market. Virtu puts attaches importance to being widely recognizable in Poland and abroad, which is crucial in maintaining the leading position on the market. At the moment export is steadily developing and the company’s products are available to clients in Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and Belgium. Distribution companies in England constitute 60 % of all the foreign clients. In 2010 Virtu is planning to intensify the export development by obtaining new markets and widening the spectrum of products. Providing clients with products of high quality is nowadays not enough to attain the leading position. As any other company, Virtu wants to be perceived as a reliable business partner and appreciated as a good employer. Virtu employees, and especially their devotion to what they do, contribute to the success achieved by the company. The staff, currently consisting of 260 members, works for the common, clearly specified goal. All of them are acquainted with the quality policy of the company. Vitru believes that the mutual trust and good atmosphere at work are one of the key elements determining the effective work. What is more, the company’s board strives to constantly raise the employees’ qualifications, thus organizing various staff trainings, including business trips, which also reinforce the ties between the staff members. Furthermore, the clearly defined personnel policy and the company’s willingness to create stable working conditions both have a positive effect on the employees’ motivation to work. No wonder the Virtu team perceives the company as a trustworthy and reliable employer.
It seems that not only the Virtu employees are satisfied what the company can offer. Its food products are widely appreciated by the direct recipients. As indicated in the survey available on the company’s website, the brand has managed to gain recognition of 98 % of consumers, who wouldn’t change anything about the product they purchased. It is noteworthy that the interest aroused by Vitru is constantly rising among consumers. The quality of products offered by Virtu has been also appreciated by various institutions, which awarded the company with numerous distinctions and rewards. Obviously, Virtu takes pride in all of them, but those which were granted directly by the satisfied customers are particularly valuable for the company. For example, in 2009 it was nominated for the 11th edition of the consumer Quality Products Competition entitled “Najlepsze w Polsce – The Best In Poland” and received a certificate for its croquettes with cabbage and mushrooms.
Apart from that, Virtu can boast the following distinctions and titles:
PDŻ Sign (Poznaj Dobrą Żywność – Get to Know Good Food) awarded by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Business Gazelle (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009);
Diamond of the Forbes magazine (2009);
TO jest TO! (THIS is IT) logo, granted by Grupa Media Parter (2009).
Having received so many distinctions, the company does not forget about those in need, thus taking part in various charity actions, such as Podziel się posiłkiem (“Share Your Meal”) organized by the Food Bank.