The Polish bakery NOWEL set its sights high in 2020 and, in the midst of the pandemic, invested in a line that transferred the concept of artisan bakery production into a fully automated process.
Helga Baumfalk: NOWEL’s main products are bread rolls. In the past, you have produced more than a billion bakery products annually. Have you found that the pandemic has changed your sales channels and/or regional markets?
Elżbieta Zajezierska: It would be difficult to identify an area of the economy that has not been affected by the pandemic. COVID-19 has redefined the existing perception of business and made numerous companies leave their comfort zone after years of stabilization. For us, the first wave of the pandemic last year was like a test of our procedures and our readiness to make rapid and profound changes. Working closely together during the crisis has strengthened relationships with our business partners and improved our understanding of our common needs.
Michał Zajezierski: What is important to mention, despite the experience of the last year, we not only maintained production, but we also did not slow down the planned investments and expansion of production lines. In just a few weeks, we have created the first consumer brand in almost 100 years, ‘Home Bakery’, which is frozen and packed bakery products for home baking. It was an almost immediate response to consumer concerns, especially important in the first months of the pandemic. We also invested in a new production line for premium stone-baked products. In February 2021, the products were launched in Lidl shops all over Poland with the ‘Baked on stone oven’ campaign. We were also able to open up new markets. Meetings took place from our desks, in the company office or from our home offices.