Helping Kyrgyz cakes reach new markets

With donor funding from the United States, we helped Kulikovskiy Tort, a confectionery manufacturer in Kyrgyz Republic, significantly increase its export sales. We helped improve the quality of their cakes and pastries, introduce new lines of products, and facilitated an in-depth study of potential new markets. These efforts led to the opening of new stores internationally as well as a significant rise in export sales.

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Oleg Kulikov started a small pastry shop in Bishkek in 1991, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This small shop produced only two types of cakes, which he sold at a local bazaar himself. Today, the company is well-established, with a wide range of products including cakes, confectionery, desserts, patisserie and chocolates. With nine of their own outlets and more than 100 products distributed throughout 160 sales spots, Kulikovskiy Tort brands can be easily found in cities and towns across Kyrgyzstan.

By 2012, it was evident that the local market almost reached its saturation point, and it was time to look for new opportunities. Unfortunately, the company had little knowledge of other markets. Cakes are also not the most commonly exported products and Kulikovskiy Tort had to work on technology to preserve product quality for a longer shelf life. The company turned to the EBRD for expertise and guidance on how to successfully enter export markets.

We brought in two technology experts from the USA and France with over 20 years of experience in the bakery industry each. They teamed up with a marketing specialist to:
• Carry out market research of the Kazakh and Russian markets and develop a comprehensive export strategy, with detailed steps and potential partners outlined.
• Work on improvement of production technologies and processes to ensure product quality and compliance to internationally recognised food safety principles
• Revise the plan of the production floor and improve production efficiency in the newly constructed export production facility and cold storage facility
• Develop several types of products, including two completely new product lines, a diet line and French pastry line.

Kulikovskiy Tort opened 13 new franchise shops in three cities of Kazakhstan (Almaty, Astana, Kyzyl-Orda) within 5 months of starting to implement the new export strategy. Their latest achievement has been the launch of a flagship store for Russian operations opened in Moscow. They’ve seen a 60% increase in export sales and costs fall by 10%. The company is now in discussions for a potential investment from EBRD to finance the business’ further expansion.