Having the royal seal of approval is a major advantage in many consumer markets, and that’s certainly true for Serbian supplier Ritopek Cherries, which was recently granted a warrant to sell its products as ‘by appointment’ to the country’s very own HRH Crown Prince Alexander II.
Second cousin to the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, Alexander has been a major supporter of the company and even introduced its chief executive, Jonathan Robinson, to his illustrious relative during a recent visit to Serbia.
Despite its name, Ritopek Cherries markets a broad range of products from its headquarters near Belgrade, including cherries, apples, pears, plums and apricots. The prince’s support is said to be a major boost.
“We pride ourselves on quality and this strengthens our brand further,” says Robinson. “This opens up the top end market of those wanting the best-quality fruit that money can buy for their customers. However, with our ever-growing buying power we are passing these savings back to our customers, making us their first choice for price as well as quality.”
Ritopek Cherries’ main market has traditionally been Russia but is increasingly finding new opportunities in other parts of Europe.
Managing director Dragon Petkovic believes the company has the experience necessary to do well there.
“Quality comes first,” he points out. “That’s our policy, and the reason we can supply supermarkets in the region like Delhaize, Mercator and Metro.”
With GlobalGAP-certified apples and apricots already available, and cherries set to follow next season, the group’s main challenge will be to achieve growth while maintaining its existing business.
The fact that its products are deemed fit for a prince can only help.