Green-Divízió has grown very quickly in a short time to occupy a preeminent position in the market for waterfowl products. The company was founded at the turn of the new millennium as a result of an opportunity provided by the EU.
In 2006 another opportunity came Green-Divízió’s way when a large competitor went bankrupt. In 2008, the company made an arrangement with a broiler chicken slaughterhouse in Kiskunmajsa. Today, the production facility has the capacity to rear and slaughter 800,000 birds per year.
Foie gras is a controversial delicacy because of the way in which the geese are force-fed to produce the oversized, fatty liver that is so prized. “Animal welfare is a major concern for us, which is why we have developed a force-feeding technology that allows us to produce liver of a quality that satisfies market demands in a more humane manner than traditional methods but in a shorter time,” insists Mr. Kutni. “Thanks to these technological achievements, the price of our products is extremely competitive in both domestic and global markets.”
Thanks to its more efficient methods and French state-of-the-art force-feeding machines, Green-Divízió is able to produce between 620 and 700 g of goose foie gras in just twelve to 14 days of force feeding.
As well as goose foie gras, Green Divízió also produces duck foie gras from Moulard ducks. The company also is a breeder and rearer of lean Moulard ducks for their flavoursome meat. “We are the only Hungarian company to prodce Moulard ducks for their meat and supplying the domestic and export markets,” outlines Mr. Kutni. “This particular species only breeds under special conditions on water. This makes the production a real challenge.”
One of Green-Divízió’s key strengths is that it controls the entire production chain, including the keeping of goose parent, grandparent and elite stocks. In this way it can guarantee the genetic heritage of all its birds as well as breeding for favourable characteristics.
In order to exploit the full potential of the gene pool at its disposal, Green Divízió has made investments and implemented technological improvements at the sites under its ownership. “We carry out experiments and tests at our farms, the results of which are put into daily practice both in our own farms and those of our suppliers,” says Mr. Kutni. “The results speak for themselves. Our breeding output in terms of elite, grandparent and parent stocks as well as end-product livestock is outstanding by both Hungarian and international standards. We want our birds to have healthy lives before they are slaughtered, and that means taking more than a passing interest in animal welfare.”
This has resulted in a commitment to research and development regarding diverse subjects such as the optimum rearing conditions, artificial insemination methods and combatting avian flu. Green-Divízió’s birds are all kept in modern sheds with plenty of natural light and adequate space for them to move around.
As well as having its own breeding and rearing farms, the company also buys the birds produced by around 70 family farms in the local region. Turnover amounts to eight billion HUF (32 million EUR), of which two thirds is generated from exports.
Belgium is the company’s strongest export market while the French market is declining. However, this is expected to change in 2016 as French domestic production of foie gras is expected to contract by as much as 20%, providing Green-Divízió with a ready market to step into.
The Far East is another interesting market. The company is also currently undergoing an audit that will allow it to export to Russia. A similar audit has recently been completed for the South African market. Growth is also strong in Canada, Japan and Hong Kong.
The company’s duck and goose foie gras products are marketed under the brand name Passion de Gourmet. They account for 80% of turnover while the remaining 20% is derived from the sale of meat products.
“We sell 20,000 kitchen-ready geese, 200,000 lean Moulard ducks and 250,000 Peking-type ducks each year with this figure set to rise to 500,000 next year,” says Mr. Kutni. “The reason for the rapid increase in lean meat products is that we want to balance the division between the two product areas more evenly from next year on.”
This change will come about naturally as the sale of foie gras products remains constant while the sale of lean meat products is projected to rise.