KEAN is an ever-present in the HORECA sector for juices and soft drinks in traditional Cyprus coffeeshops to five-star hotels, but China has also grown a taste for it.
Cypriots are not the only ones enjoying a refreshing juice or squash as the Chinese are crazy for KEAN’s products, as €5 mln in juice drinks were exported to China last year.
Celebrating more than seven decades in the industry, KEAN recently announced its products are consumed in more than 50 countries across five continents.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, KEAN’s exports manager Andreas Ergatoudes said the company sees its juices and squash exported to 52 countries, with China the number one destination.
He said that 25% of the company’s €40 mln operation cycle is related to exports of juices in TetraPak, juice concentrates, soft drinks and squashes from citrus fruits to the EU and third countries.
“Half of our €10 mln worth of exports last year was bound for China, where the market has been particularly welcoming towards our juices and juice concentrates,” said Ergatoudes.
“The Chinese absolutely love our juices. It is the driving force behind our export growth in recent years, and we expect to see this trend grow.
He added that the whole continent of Asia is KEAN’s stronghold, as exports reach countries such as Korea, Singapore, and Thailand.
The company’s flagship fruit drink, KEANITA, has not yet been tested in the market, as the Chinese do not have a taste for fruit drinks in general.
“KEANITA is actually turning 40 years old this year, and one of our targets is to test the waters with our new one-litre KEANITA packages to be ready for export in the coming months.”
The KEAN brand can be found in Africa, in countries like Ghana and Kenya. In South America, in Europe, with exports heading mainly for the Netherlands and Denmark.
“The UK is a small although traditional market, which has been steady over the past couple of decades, with products worth €250,000 being exported every year.”
Exports have been growing for a decade, as 2021 will be the firm’s ninth consecutive year to see export growth.
“Between 2015 to 2017, we saw our exports grow on a year-to-year basis from 14% to 18% in 2017.
“In 2018, we saw the growth of our exports slow to just 0.5%, making us think that we may have reached saturation.”
But exports made a comeback growing by a whopping 11% in 2019.
“COVID did have an impact on our exports, but not enough to stop our growth.”
The juice makers’ exports grew by 1% in 2020.
In 2021 exports are set to grow by 3%, despite adverse conditions created by the pandemic.
“The only harm COVID has inflicted on us is that it has kept us from carrying out face-to-face meetings with our clients.”
Commenting on a supply crisis caused by the increase in the cost of containers from China, Ergatoudes said: “Luckily, our exports are not affected by the increase of shipping costs.
“The cost of bringing a container from Asia to Cyprus has skyrocketed from €1,500 to somewhere close to €18,000, but this does not affect us as we are not importing from China.”
The increase in container costs mainly concerns exports from China.
The majority of containers return empty to the country, which brings down the cost of hiring a container to a few hundred euros.
Ergatoudes said that KEAN, with its long-term export strategy and portfolio that includes 76 top-quality products in state-of-the-art packaging with modern design, has the potential to operate well beyond the island’s boundaries.
“That is exactly what we plan to do. Cyprus is a small market and has reached saturation”.
Prospects for KEAN and Cyprus’ juice industry for exports, especially in the Far East, are vast, and that’s where the company will be focusing in the years to come.
Locally, KEAN aims to hold on to its 26% and 35% market shares of local juices and citrus fruits-based soft drinks.
The company has recently enhanced its presence in the HORECA industry by importing brands such as HEINZ/KRAFT, HP, L&P, AMOY, VITALIA, FARLEY’S CALVO (tuna and salads), GO TAN (noodles and sauces), PELLITO NUTS and other food products.