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Home » How Kusto Group’s KazBeef Entered the “Meat Market’s Elite”

How Kusto Group’s KazBeef Entered the “Meat Market’s Elite”

by Malkhazi Zalkaliani
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Explained: How Kusto Group’s KazBeef Entered the Meat Market’s “Champions League”

In just three years, KazBeef has gone from having overcrowded feedlots to producing high-quality meat for top restaurants in Dubai. It was all made possible after Kusto Group bought the meat manufacturing firm.

Since the international holding company Kusto Group acquired KazBeef in 2018, the meat manufacturing firm has been on an upward journey.

Quickly after the acquisition, Kusto Group built a new feedlot for 12,000 cattle in Kazakhstan. The feedlot was constructed according to American standards and got the international certificates necessary to enter the global market.

That paved the way for exporting of KazBeef’s Kazakhstani meat to Russia, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates.

However, Kusto Group’s success with KazBeef was not a given, as the holding company did not have any previous experience with meat manufacturing.

Instead, Kusto Group drew on its knowledge from its crop production in Ukraine.

“In terms of wheat yield, we increased from 35 centners per hectare in 2014 to 70 centners per hectare in 2019. For corn, we increased from 46 per hectare to 102 centners per hectare, over the same period. We made such a breakthrough due to the transfer of advanced agricultural technologies: using the best seeds, the best equipment, the introduction of digitalization and dispatching. The team played a big role,” Daulet Nurzhanov, CEO of Kusto Group’s agricultural division, Kusto Agro, said.

Yerkin Tatishev’s great choice

Daulet Nurzhanov sees many similarities between crop production in Ukraine and meat manufacturing in Kazakhstan.

“Therefore, the acquisition of KazBeef in 2018 was the right decision of my partner Yerkin Tatishev. We started dealing with what was a new business in 2019. Which principles is it built on? What is the growth strategy? What exactly is our final product? And then we saw several problems. Therefore, we went through the entire chain and developed a whole modernization program,” he explained.

When Kusto Group took over KazBeef, the meat manufacturer had an overcrowded feedlot for 6,000 cattle, which prompted the holding company to build a new one with a capacity twice as high.

COVID-19 brings KazBeef in deep water

KazBeef also did not have a good forage base, so Kusto Group established the crop production division KazGrain Feeders and based it on American and Ukrainian agricultural technologies.

Additionally, Kusto Group needed its meat processing plant to improve the meat quality and live up to international standards.

“We bought the Shchuchinsk meat processing plant and carried out its complete reconstruction. To work according to the American meat grading system, we, with the help of Tyson Foods, purchased a rare machine that allows us to scan meat for marbling. Now we sell a product where the marbling is graded according to the American USDA system,” Daulet Nurzhanov said.

Just as Kusto Group and KazBeef had everything going for them, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Like many other companies, the two firms faced difficulties but decided that they had to endure the pandemic, as it would end sooner or later.

Kusto Group used the period of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen KazBeef. The meat manufacturer, for instance, went from having 32 to 58 products.

One of the new initiatives was selling meat in skin packs for retail.

KazBeef enters Dubai’s top restaurants 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, KazBeef also entered the market in the Emirate of Dubai.

The foundation of the cooperation was established at the Gulfood Exhibition 2021, and in April 2021, the first KazBeef products were shipped to high-class Dubai hotels and restaurants.

In December 2021, KazBeef made a 500 million Tenge ($1.2 million) agreement with Wisk Foodstuff Trading to supply hotels and restaurants all over the United Arab Emirates with quality meat. They too met at the Gulfood Exhibition. 

“I remembered the Gulfood Exhibition because we once represented the interests of our Ukrainian company, Kusto Agro, there. In a month, KazBeef organized everything, made a design and flew there with their products. Very fortunately, we received five proposals for cooperation, but in the end, we chose the one that suited us better: Wisk Foodstuff Trading,” Daulet Nurzhanov stated and added:

“It only sells high-quality food products to top restaurants. It sells expensive French cheeses and truffles, among other things. Today, we see that we made the right choice of partner, as Wisk Foodstuff Trading has already entered all the top restaurants in Dubai with our meat.”

Recognition from Down Under

At the Gulfood Exhibition, KazBeef was approached by meat market-leading countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.

A representative from Down Under ensured KazBeef that its Kazakhstani meat was of high quality.

“At some point, the Australians came up to us, talked and invited us to their tasting. We cooked steaks and compared the results of the chef from Australia, Tariq. “This is a very famous chef. The Australian Meat Exporters Association has hired him for about ten years in a row to participate in exhibitions around the world,” Daulet Nurzhanov explained.

“The opinion of professionals was important to us, and Tarik told us, ‘Guys, you are on the level.’ In that moment, the team felt relieved from the heart because there were worries about the result of the ‘exam.’ I was sincerely happy for the CEO of KazBeef, Beibit Yerubayev, the man who stood at the origins of the company. He invested so much in this project, waited so long for this recognition and finally, in cooperation with us, he managed to break into the Champions League,” the Kusto Agro CEO added.

Source : Food World News

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