Interview: La Cucina Italiana interviews our General Manager Mr. Teoman Durukan

Interview: La Cucina Italiana interviews our General Manager Mr. Teoman Durukan


Mozzarella is the first thing that comes to mind when we say Rella. Mozzarella is a product with cumbersome production process and typically successful examples are rare in Turkey. How did you decide to product this type of cheese? We aim to make sure that the first thing that comes to mind when we say Rella is mozzarella cheese. We’ve designed our production plant to produce only mozzarella. We maintain our determination to product Mozzarella cheese in accordance with the true production technique from the beginning. As Rella companies, we adopt the culture of “whatever we do, let’s do the best and faithful to the original”. We’ve always wanted to build a dairy products production plant from the beginning. However, we had to be picky about it. We had to launch with a product that meets the needs in both Turkey and other counties that we have ties with. Hence the idea of producing mozzarella was born.

Mozzarella is an Italian variety made from water buffalo milk which requires mastership. Could you please tell us about the production specifics of Rella?

Sure, it is a very specific product. We’ve researched mozzarella cheese perception in the domestic market prior to commencing production. And we’ve found out that mozzarella is barely known and recognized in Turkey. There were lots of varieties in the market known as mozzarella, and none of them were the real mozzarella, and rather known as mozzarella kasseri or pizza kasseri. We’ve decided that first of all we should get know-how support for mozzarella production. We’ve trained our personnel, and designed our plant with the support of foreign mozzarella experts.

How and from where do you procure the milk used in dairy products and how do you transfer it to the plant?  First of all, the milk to be used in mozzarella cheese must have certain chemical and emotional properties. Therefore, it’s not technically possible to use the milk from all locations throughout Turkey. We’ve created milk collection centers only in eligible locations and employed our expert field personnel in such locations after training. Control and training of our milk producers is among our top priorities as well. Milks approved by our personnel are transferred daily to our plants in line with cold chain guidelines.

Consuming frozen cheese and cakes is different and new to us. Why did you prefer this form of sale, could you please tell us its importance?

We are aware that quick freeze in line with the technology is the best method of storage. We’ve shaped our technical infrastructure accordingly. Moreover, frozen goods offer economic advantages by providing time and storage savings during both transport and supply.

What are the points that companies producing frozen goods should consider? How can the frozen goods consumers distinguish and prefer companies?

Above all things, we need to describe the concept of frozen product at this point. Our products are beyond frozen goods; they are gradually quick frozen to -40°C using technology, and delivered and sold at -18°C. Many products known and sold in the market as frozen are directly frozen by storing at -18°C for a while. These products can be distinguished not only visually, but also by the shelf life performance and post-thaw usage performance.

Can you give us more detail about not using preservatives and rapid cooling system? What kind of technologies are required for using such systems?

We begin bearing in mind that the products will not require preservation and additional preservatives if we eliminate the adverse aspects that need preservation during production stages. We meticulously handle each and every step from raw material supplier selection to production process, and from appropriate packaging material to following the cold chain guidelines. We produce freshest products without ever requiring any additional preservatives thanks to the integrated system applied.

Using preservatives is the exact opposite of the principle of preserving the natural and healthy structure of the product. Unfortunately preservative use is preferred in the market on occasion just to avoid long and costly processes. You’ve launched your business in export and wholesale of dairy products and recently embarked on domestic market retail adventure. How do you evaluate the dynamics of retail; what are the challenges, exciting aspects...

Retail market is a world that we need to explore. We are making certain attempts. Each innovation gives us excitement and keeps our dynamics alive. We used to prepare our mozzarella cheese and cakes produced in our Rella Cake plant with top quality, and offer for the consumption of our industrial consumers. We believed that it was time to offer these tastes to end consumers directly from shelves. And based on the first reactions, we are proud to see how right and on-point we were. Retail world has its own various dynamics and dynamites and although it preserves its basic rules, it is a structure that is highly affected by the daily conditions. To me, retail world is a fantastic playground that can rise you quickly if you use and comply with the dynamics correctly, however, it can destroy you as quickly if you do not pay attention to the dynamites.

There are eye-catching tastes in your Rella Cake product range. In fact, we consume your products in many cafes and restaurants without even knowing it. How do you designate the retail varieties?

Typically they are designated by our customers. They challenge and guide us in terms of producing innovative and different products. We hear the market’s voice and try to look and see the needs of the shelves from consumer’s point of view.

How’s the consumers’ frozen cake perception?

Unfortunately, just like in mozzarella, we have to promote the frozen cake on the shelves. This requires intensive marketing and promotion. We support them with various activities. When we look at the shelves, we see that equivalent and/or alternative products are not even remotely close to a cake in terms of cream, filling, and bases. Consumers have prior bad experiences and perceptions.  We strive to explain and show that proper and tasty real cakes can be consumed frozen as well.

Where can we find Rella products? What points shall the consumers consider when using your products?

Regardless of the channel that our products are offered, we look out for using the same quality and raw materials in all of our products. It is possible to find some of our products in leading retail chains which are located throughout Turkey and we are all familiar with. Currently we are available with a certain number of product range on shelves. While it is not possible for our end consumers to directly access other product ranges, they can try them in national and international café and restaurant chains throughout Turkey.