A continental touch: Unicorn Germany three years on
Back in 2016 Unicorn Ingredients decided to open a new office in Germany, staffed by experienced local professionals, to serve its developing customer base on the Continent. Three years ago, Unicorn Ingredients sales in Continental Europe had been showing steady and sustained growth. The company had four warehouses in Europe and decided that the market was ripe for a new supplier, particularly one with its strengths in freight logistics and distribution.
In Spring 2016, Unicorn Ingredients decided to open a new local office, based in Germany. This move was the latest in a series of expansions that had already seen Unicorn extend its operations and open offices in India and China. The decision to base the office in Germany was made due to the strength of this market for seeds.
The German market was an attractive one to tap into as it is among the largest and most mature in Europe. It is estimated to be three times larger than that of the UK’s for sesame seeds alone. According to CBI Market Intelligence (from November 2015) Germany is Europe’s biggest importer of sesame seeds, most of which are used in its strong and thriving bakery industry as ingredients in bread and crackers or as a topping on snacks such as pretzels and pastries.
Manager Vera Grosse-Drieling says:
“We believe that by having a local office in Germany, staffed by experienced industry professionals who speak the language we are be able to offer the very best customer service, which is something Unicorn always prioritises.”
Unicorn’s first German office was based in Lengerich, a small town in North Rhine Westphalia, close to Muenster. Recently the team moved into a new location in Ibbenbueren, about 20 km away from the old office. This area was chosen after Vera had been recruited, so she was able to advise and help select the most appropriate location.
Currently there are two permanent full-time members in the German office. From the German base, Vera travels extensively to meet customers and visit production sites and oversee sales. The second member of staff is more office based, ensuring that the operation runs smoothly.
The German office has taken over customer care and account management for Germany, France and other neighbourhood areas on the continent as well as the organisation of the logistics of Unicorn’s continental warehouses. Vera explains:
“We are in close contact with purchasers, customers, warehouses and hauliers to make sure everything from sales to deliveries runs smoothly and that we provide the best possible service.”
The strategy for the future is to build the reputation of Unicorn Ingredients as a reliable partner for the bakery and food industry on the continent by making direct contact with new customers. Vera says:
“We are available to discuss and work together with purchasers, technical and production sites to find out and define individual requirements. This personal touch allows us to offer and guarantee excellent levels of service and safety.”