Brasil Foods: Thinking like the customer
Brasil Foods

Thinking like the customer

Thomas Fedra, Thomas Fedra
Roberto Banfi
Roberto Banfi

GERMANY, Frankfurt Brasil Foods is the seventh largest company in the world. Europe CEO Banfi explained the Brazilian group's strategy at the German Meat Congress.

Brasil Foods (BRF) produces around 4.7 million tonnes of meat per year. Half of this is exported, as Roberto Banfi, the Brazilian meat group's CEO for Europe and Eurasia, explained at the Deutscher Fleisch Kongress (German Meat Congress) in Frankfurt.

BRF was founded in 2009 with the merger of Perdigao and Sadia. The global group supplies approximately 2.320 products - primarily poultry meat-based - to 120 countries. BRF accounts for 14 per cent of the global volume of turkey meat and its products are bought by 95 percent of Brazilian households.
Roberto Banfi
is CEO for Europe and Eurasia at the Brazilian food company BRF. In 2013 he returned to BRF after four years during which he worked as a consultant both in Brazil and abroad, and held board memberships in two different companies. Previously, he was national Sales and Marketing Director at Sadia for over twelve years and had overall responsibility for the company's export activities. Prior to joining Sadia, Banfi was a sales director at Best Food in Brazil and other listed companies in Latin America and the United States of America. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Commerce from HEC Lausanne.
Banfi quoted impressive figures: 32 million turkeys and 185,000 pigs are slaughtered per week by the vertically fully integrated group. Around 13,000 partners are integrated into the vertical chain. The group itself maintains 44 production facilities, nine of them outside South America. Within Europe the most important market, Great Britain, is followed by Germany. Key accounts here include Wiesenhof and Herta.

"We need to diversify," claimed Banfi in view of the major challenges posed by global competition. The company recently invested 155 million in a slaughtering plant in Abu Dhabi which supplies the markets in North-East Africa, Iran and Pakistan. It has a production capacity of 70,000 tonnes of processed goods. The gigantic project went into operation exactly one year ago.

The native Tyrolean Banfi also described how thinking in the group has changed "from push to pull". The emphasis now is on viewing the market and the offerings from the consumer's viewpoint and on aligning production to what consumers want rather than focusing on the product. "This of course takes time in a fully integrated group," acknowledged Banfi. He believes that innovations in Europe are product-based, whereas in the US they tend to come from enhanced packaging.

Frankfurt am Main: 10. Deutscher Fleisch Kongress 2015

Overall, just under 47 percent of the company's production is marketed as processed goods, 35 percent as poultry products. Pork accounts for just over nine percent and food service for six percent of sales. Nearly half is sold on the Brazilian market, 46 percent is exported, and a further six percent is accounted for by food service.

Retail brands predominate in Europe, stated the CEO, with the exception of Italy, where Sadia is based. In the other countries it is difficult to place brands; this is likely to be more successful in the Middle East, he said. Which is why the processed goods and especially the food service segments in the regions overseen by Banfi, i.e. Europe and Eurasia, constitute a major market for the Brazilians. Breaded products in particular have been prime contributors to growth.In general, the European head of BRF sees the German market as highly discount-oriented and with a strong price focus: "You want to get a BMW for the price of a VW."


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