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Dough in the oven

In the last two decades Slovenian bakery has been building its international presence by focusing on healthy products, quality, and innovation.

Dough in the oven

On June 1st Janez Bojc, CEO of Slovenian company Žito, became the president of AIBI, the largest international association of plant bakers. It is not a coincidence: in the last two decades Slovenian bakery has been building its international presence by focusing on healthy products, quality, and innovation.

Žito, a company with around 100 million euros of annual sales, exports its products to almost all countries in Europe, and to markets in North America and the Middle East. The company was established back in 1947 and used to be the largest Slovenian bakery. In recent years it was surpassed by Don Don. In 1994 Don Don, a small family business from Metlika, a small place in southeastern Slovenia, launched its line of donuts under the brand “your5minutes”. Don Don’s big leap came in 2008: with a series of take-overs in Serbia the company became a serious player in the regional market. Since then Don Don’s revenues have grown from 30 million to 108 million last year. This year’s sales could very well surpass 125 million euros. The Don Don group employs 1,668 people and sells its products in more than 10.000 locations in regional markets from Slovenia and Hungary to Romania or Greece. Don Don’s success formula: strong branding and clever marketing, a focus on high value-added, innovative products, and automated production.

Don Don is one of the best fast-growing companies in Slovenia – but not the only gazelle hailing from the nation’s bakery industry. Another example is Hlebček. The bakery from Eastern Slovenia is growing quickly while providing bread products for big retailers like Hofer (Aldi) and Spar.

The existence of the gazelles is not the only proof of the vitality of the industry. Another important element is also the evolution of a true cluster with a growing number of small companies developing equipment and services for the industry. Just a few examples: BTF from Ajdovščina develops equipment and projects production lines. Alpfrigo makes cooling and freezing bakery cabinets. Fines produces bakery ovens. Trgopek manufacturers dough fermentation baskets and protective bakery gloves.

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