- The cheeses manufactured by Capilla del Señor were chosen to develop the premium brand of a supermarket chain from Peru.
- The company is part of ProCórdoba Agency's Sensaciones Queseras (Cheese Sensations) Export Group.
- Export groups are a tool to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs and producers seeking to penetrate foreign markets.
Capilla del Señor, based in Villa María, has penetrated the Peruvian market after several years without any international operations. This SME in the dairy industry has manufactured cheese since 2007, making different products: soft, semi hard and hard cheeses. Other products include an intense-flavor line made with craft processes, a line focused on healthy products such as light, salt-free cheeses, and a cholesterol-reducing cheese developed together with the National Institute for Agricultural Technology. Finally, the firm also makes ricotta and cream.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Mining Eduardo Accastello referred to the international sale and said, "We are proud that more companies are taking their products across the borders of our Province and country, creating new opportunities and opening new trade markets. This all speaks to the effort that entrepreneurs from Córdoba have made to strive for quality, competitiveness and innovation."
"Córdoba is one of the main milk producing regions in Argentina. It is a big step for Capilla el Señor to have had their products chosen by a supermarket chain from Peru as premium goods to sell on their shelves," noted the office holder.
Accastello also shared that "as part of the internationalization policy the Ministry and ProCórdoba are working on, another program called ‘Made in Córdoba' will soon be available for exporting firms from the province."
One of the strongest aspects of the deal is that it involves a commitment, on both sides, to work in the long term. The entire process, from the first contact with the client up to the shipment of the container took 16 months. The product is shipped in packaging sporting the Peruvian brand. The packaging is done in the plant at Villa María, and this called for registrations and permits in both countries. The firm is expecting to get the second purchase order soon.
Capilla del Señor's General Manager Álvaro Ugartemendía explained, "This export is a first significant step on the path we have been working so hard to tread." He added, "In the beginning and until 2012, we exported commodities to Asia and South America, but we became less and less competitive in those markets due to the presence of large companies. We therefore focused on finding a distinctive niche, a unique market centered around healthy eating, and on creating added value."
The road so far
The company works with the support of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Mining's ProCórdoba Agency to position their differentiated products in the international market. In their search for that specific niche, the firm received technical assistance, participated in trade missions, international fairs and different trade promotion actions. "Having the support of ProCórdoba is fundamental. The trips and virtual activities organized in the face of the pandemic have always been valuable and enriching experiences, useful to think about and design our business model," explained Ugartemendía. He continued, "We have also participated in several business rounds at Villa María Exporta, which are essential to meet clients."
The company also received financing from FExIC (the Fund for Export and Internationalization of Cordobese Companies). Company representatives said that this has helped them improve their image, their product marketing and their website design - all of which are crucial to strengthening foreign trade activities.
The importance of business consortiums
In early 2020, under ProCórdoba Agency's Export Groups Program, Capilla del Señor formed the Sensaciones Queseras (Cheese Sensations) Group together with other companies in the sector.
The program is aimed at forming consortiums as a tool to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs and producers seeking to penetrate foreign markets. The goal is to form groups of SMEs providing products and services that complement one another as opposed to being competitors, and prepare an attractive offer, in order to minimize costs and boost the export experience.
The company's general manager expressed that "the export group is undergoing an exploration and learning stage. We are building trust and consolidating bonds. I have already presented to my client in Peru the products of other companies in the export group, since this boosts all of our businesses. One of the objectives is to be able to export a larger variety of products in the long term. So, one company penetrates some markets and then brings in the rest of the firms. We already have a logo and will soon be launching the group's web. For their part, other companies in the group are in talks to close deals with clients in Brazil and Paraguay, so there are very good prospects ahead."