Our goal in 2022 is to catch up with the old figures in exports and to be able to surpass them in small proportions. We have slightly bigger targets for 2023. In this period when fairs are still rare, Coimex is of great value for us in reaching customers, because it contributes to us in increasing our exports. 

We had a pleasant interview with Can Şatvan, CEO of Agrorev, one of our members, at the WorldFood Fair. Produced with the REV method, which has been perfected as a result of many years of R&D studies and many types of research, Agrorev produces gourmet and niche products in the dried food segment. Agrorev, which produces completely natural and healthy dried vegetables and fruits with the REV technique and packs these products, produces healthy snacks in cooperation with Knorr. We talked to Can Şatvan, CEO of Agrorev, which produces natural and healthy dried food snacks, about the secret of his success.

Mr. Şatvan, what do you think is the secret of successful foreign trade? Do you have any surprising, striking advice for us on this subject, beyond the clichés?

Can Şatvan (CŞ): The secret of a successful foreign trade is to follow the trends, needs and the place of trade in the world correctly, invest in them and deliver the right product to the consumer. It is necessary to hear the needs and wishes of the consumer correctly, to work towards these wishes and needs of the consumer and to deliver the things the consumer wants. In foreign trade, sustainability is very important. When we thought about what we could do on sustainability and did researches, we reached the most efficient drying technology in the world and established this facility in Turkey. Thus, we wanted to both contribute to Turkish farmers and contribute to the world in terms of sustainability. We are successful in foreign trade because we set out with this thought, belief, and need.

How did you start working with a big company like Knorr, can you share your story with us?  

CŞ:  Due to its current product range, Knorr was known to the consumer as a company that offered preservative-based products. And Knorr wanted to change this perception in the consumer’s eye. They were looking for a new product and category to change this perception. We got together. Since we produce 100% natural, preservative-free, oil-free, and additive-free products and the trend in the world is towards healthy snacks, Knorr wanted to work with us to change this perception on its own brand. No matter how willing the two parties were, it was not an easy process. We worked with large teams for approximately 1.5 years through mutual R&D, product selection, meticulous studies, and choices. We have made an effort to make the product the best.  

How did you grow Agrorev from scratch? Which dream did you set out with? What are your 2022 foreign trade targets? 

CŞ: Maybe it’s a cliché, but with patience and hard work. We have experienced this. We founded Agrorev in 2015. We were aiming to go on sale in 2016, but it took 2017 for us to actually go on sale. This was because the initial plans did not go as planned. We only worked on R&D for 2 years without ever going on sale in order to deliver products that we would like to eat and sell proudly to the consumer. The whole team worked on it. Our core team is still in the company, we have never broken it up. At the end of the 2-year R&D process, we started the sales. Working on R&D for 2 years without making any sales is not something every food company can do. At that time, we only focused on perfecting the product and we worked hard for it.  

What are your goals for 2022? 

CŞ: We have more modest goals. There is a pandemic going on and we are just getting back to normal. The biggest problems of exporting companies during the pandemic process; Logistics problems and loss of customers occurred as logistics channels were closed during this period. Did these customers come back during the normalization process? No, most of them did not come back. Because our customers had to find local solutions to survive while experiencing these difficulties. After the normalization started, they continued with their local solutions. That’s why our goal in 2022 is to catch up with the old figures in exports and to be able to surpass them in small proportions. We have slightly bigger targets for 2023. In this period when fairs are still rare, Coimex is of great value for us in reaching customers, because it contributes to us in increasing our exports. 

For a while, the foreign trade community talked about the global container crisis. How has this crisis affected your work? How did you find a solution for this? 

CŞ: The container crisis we talked about during this process affected everyone who exports, it still does. Container prices have increased 2-3 times in the last 1-1.5 years. As a solution; We tried to pass this process comfortably with good communication and mutual understanding with our customers. We have remained in maximum support and maximum communication with our customers. Freight charges are a very important expense for us, especially when the product we transport is packaged in a private label container since most of the packages of the products contain air. Despite the increase in container prices, we still try to support our customers as much as we can and try not to reflect this increase in our prices.  

Where do you use digital in foreign trade? What is important to you in this aspect? 

CŞ: In foreign trade, we try to use all B2C channels and marketplaces. But right now, we live in a very B2C world and the world is integrated into it. But as a manufacturer, the B2B side is much more exciting for us. We’ve had small digital experiences on the B2B plane before, but not too serious ones. We are having our first serious experience with Coimex. We tried Alibaba in B2B before, but we were not satisfied. Now we are happy with Coimex.  

While digital usage increased during the pandemic, what were the digital solutions you found? 

CŞ: Until the pandemic, we mainly proceeded with a private label sales strategy. With the pandemic, the world has entered a serious digitalization. We also had to create our own solutions to survive. That’s why we tried to use all digital channels in our own brand as much as we could integrate with the world, on the B2C side.  

If you had the chance to be notified when a potential customer needs to buy dried fruit, what would be the impact and importance of it in your business? 

CŞ: We do not do dried fruit business, which I would describe as conventional. In other words, we do not do a business like dried apricots, dried figs, and raisins that people are used to. We are working towards a more niche, more gourmet, and more refined market. That’s why we try to find customers rather than customers finding us. If the potential customer could find us instantly and when needed, it would be a great relief for us. In this way, we would devote the time we spent looking for customers to other issues that would move the company forward. This would save us some serious time.  

If you had a magic wand, what would you change in foreign trade right now? 

CŞ: If I had a magic wand, I would explain the benefits of organic dried fruits and vegetables and help customers understand them. Because the issue we have the most difficulty with is telling our potential customers how we are different and useful. Because when it comes to dried fruit, the consumer doesn’t usually think of the work we do. If I had a magic wand, I would try to help customers and consumers understand exactly what we are doing.


Thank you very much, Mr. Şatvan, for taking the time to answer our questions during the fair. 

Interview: Figen Karaaslan 

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