Partner ContentWhy the Seed Industry Must Think of Itself as a Food Producer

Why the Seed Industry Must Think of Itself as a Food Producer


Rebranding our business has been a lesson in why success lies in not just processing, but everything that comes after it.

It’s never an easy decision to rebrand. Deciding to transform ourselves from Elica Elevator to Elica Processing represents a whole new way of looking at our business, but it’s important if we are to fit into the modern food economy that feeds and the world and powers the seed business.

Let me back up for a moment.

For the past 10 years, our Bulgaria-based company has expanded beyond its original mandate of being a seed processing company. Back in the early 1990s, we used many different brands of processing equipment to do our job of processing seed and grain.

As time went on, we became experts in the processing technology itself, building our own brand of processing equipment. We’ve developed our own know-how and our own processing technologies for seed processing, sunflower dehulling and pulse processing. Our engineering team has also developed weighing and scaling systems. ELICA has grown beyond our wildest dreams to become a lot more than we started as.

That brings me back to our rebranding. Bulgaria is the first country in the world to mechanize the dehulling of sunflower for food use. We knew if we were going to play in the food sphere, we needed to distinguish between our seed processing and food processing capabilities, as the food industry has many unique requirements than separate it from the seed sector. Two examples are purity and high output for food grade oil.

We saw immense opportunity in catering to the needs of the food sector. Our processing know-how goes well beyond sunflower and into peanuts, peas and oats. What a great opportunity to help our business grow and to help our clients, many of whom are farmers and cater to farmers.

Sunflower kernel, for example, is a value-added product, but farmers often don’t have enough information about the market in order to produce the product and sell it effectively.

ELICA has a long history in seed processing, but our knowledge of the food industry gives us direct insight into the food market and what directions the trends are moving in.

This means that we are not purely a machine building and processing company — we are a full-service provider that helps people manage their value-added product from processing right to finding a market for it. We don’t simply process their seed/grain and then leave it up to them to figure out what to do with it — we’re with them every step of the way to not only produce a clean product, but to be able to play in the food sphere and become more than just farmers but actual food ingredient suppliers.

This holistic approach only bolsters client trust. After building one processing line with us, many are doing a second, a third and a fourth project with us because they can capture a return their investment very fast with our machines and our advice. Like us, they want to grow even more.

The future of food is boundless. Our industry must think outside of our borders if we are to thrive, and food is a major answer to doing so. Outside of Europe, the world population is growing. Many of those people comprise the middle class, and for them, eating healthy is paramount. By adding high protein additives like sunflower and oatmeal, they are consuming the very products we help clients process.

Because of this, demand for our machines will grow rapidly, and Bulgaria will continue to be a world leader in export of sunflower kernel.

With our recent acquisition of an Italian equipment company, the gates to Western Europe are open to us. The focus in South America is building and installing complete lines. We plan to establish a satellite office there to really show off the capabilities if this equipment to the Western Hemisphere. Further strengthening our presence in Eastern Europe is a priority as well. We are considering basing a subsidiary in Russia as soon as the COVID-19 regulations soften the travelling.

If you want to know how to grow your business, think food. Seed and food are inextricably linked; we cannot have one without the other. We thought this way, and it changed how we think about our own business. That’s why we have redefined it.

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Kaloyan Radulov is the Business Development Manager, ELICA Processing

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