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“Nut processing is an unexploited niche in Georgia” – Co-founder of Wise Nut Ltd

Wise Nuts Ltd. is a Georgian small enterprise, which was established in 2017 and currently produces five types of butter from various nuts. Despite the pandemic last year was a successful year for the company, demand has increased in Georgia, and interest on export markets has emerged.

In 2020, the company’s sales increased by about 800%, largely due to the growth of online sales. According to the company’s co-founder Nino Andriadze, there were potential customers in the market who did not use online shops before and therefore did not have information on Wise Nut butters as company sells the product mainly through online shops, but the pandemic changed the behavior of these users in favor of online sales.

Interest on export markets also emerged last year. The company has not exported so far, although negotiations are underway in several countries. The Wise Nut already has its representative in Israel and is preparing to be able to export this year. To do this, the company plans to obtain ISO 22000 certification, as well as add a “Kosher” certificate, which will help with sales on the Israeli market. To strengthen its export capabilities, the company has increased its production capacity. Wise Nut can produce 10 tons of butter per month, which is enough to meet export demand.

The founders of the company from the very beginning were thinking to reach export markets, because they believe that the local market is small for such a niche product. The target group for Wise Nut Butters in Georgia are mainly young people who have travel or study experience abroad. In general, for Georgian consumers, butter made from different nuts is not a traditional product. The company has also selected product positioning and branding in a way their products to be attractive to both local and export markets. Words such as “smart” and “wise” were used to name the products, which evokes positive emotions in consumers. An English-language website was created to make information about the company available in foreign markets. In addition, they emphasize the health benefits of the product and note that their butters do not contain artificial additives. An important part of the concept is also a product made from local, Georgian nuts.

The company produces hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seed butter. According to Andriadze, only local products are used to make each product. Peanuts and almonds are produced in Kakheti region, hazelnuts in Samegrelo, pumpkin seeds in Imereti, and pecans in Guria. Andriadze notes that Georgian nuts are special in their taste, therefore, in the future, despite the increase in production, they plan to use only local products.

“To buy required quantity of local nuts at this stage is not a problem and I think we will not have this problem in the future either. Georgia is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts, almond production is growing every year, and pumpkin seeds are not in scarce. Peanuts are an annual crop and with the emergence of demand, farmers will easily switch to its production if needed. Georgian pistachios will appear on the market in a few years, which we are waiting to add another type of butter to our products, “said Andriadze.

Wise Nut tries to diversify the range and offer new tastes to customers. Pumpkin is a novelty this year and last year pecan was added to the assortment. According to Andriadze, Georgian consumers are quite conservative and it takes some time for them to notice and get used to new products.

“Hazelnuts can be used in many ways other than making “churchkhela” or serving them with honey, but unfortunately in Georgia, the production of higher value products obtained from hazelnut processing is less developed, even though Georgia is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts in the world. The same opportunities exist for other products like almond or pumpkin seeds, but this market is still unexploited in Georgia,” said Andriadze.

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