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Written by Mateo Rafael Tablado - Produced by Taybele Piven
Interviewee Claudio Freixes, CEO and Jorge Ricaud, Commercial Manager
From breeding to retailing and export, Kekén goes hand in hand with Mexican consumers and looks towards demanding foreign markets.
In pork production, Kekén has integrated a network of commercial partners from entrepreneurs in rural communities to small producers as a way to reach the most demanding markets. Slogans such as "from the farm to the table" are falling short due to their expansion in Asia and North America, a success that implies high management standards and constant updates in technology and health procedures. Their distribution channel includes all 250 “Maxicarne” convenience stores; these branches supply customers in the domestic market and through food establishments.
The company is on track to meet their 2015 expectations, including a more aggressive presence and distribution in the southeast region of Mexico to further expand operations into the country’s capital with new stores and production plants.
"Our goal is to duplicate Kekén’s operations by 2015. With a year and a half left to reach this target, we will certainly achieve this goal. With this level of motivation and professionalism of Kekén’s human resource, we will be able to achieve anything," says Claudio Freixes, CEO of the company.
Kekén’s star product is refrigerated pork meat and it will remain the company’s specialty.
The bastion of Maxicarne stores is the starting point for local routes, covering deliveries for "intermediate" customers such as restaurants and other food outlets.
The advantage offered by each Maxicarne branch is to deliver a variety of meat that consumers could rarely find in other establishments where display space is limited.
"We seek to develop fresh and refrigerated products, with an additional value for consumers: marinated, portioned, seasoned, but basically in the vein of fresh produce," says Jorge Ricaud, commercial director of Kekén.
Kekén depends not only on their retail distribution, but also on specialized logistics that demand refrigeration and a process manipulation in sanitary conditions, as well as a strict feeding control to provide secure and healthy results.
"We also need logistics in transportation, distribution and refrigeration centers to maintain our products in optimal conditions and for them to stay fresh and healthy for consumers," says Freixes.
One of Kekén’s greatest successes has been to establish partnerships with farmers and small entrepreneurs in the regions where their processing plants are located.
The company has helped small farmers get loans to build their farms from scratch and small businesses have joined the project by aligning production standards. After 20 years of partnering with the community, not only were these farms paid for in full, they also successfully expanded.
"This started before the concept of social responsibility was created and it has been a success," says Freixes.
The company has begun its foray into the Japanese market, with the consideration of their premium policies and prices on quality produce. Kekén wants to maximize their capacity in this country. Within the Asian market, they are also involved in the Korean pork industry.
In regard to their closest clients, their exports operations have expanded into the United States and Canada, thus representing a great potential for development.
There are specialized areas such as genetics and salubrity in which providers must perform at their best to continue working within the global standards of Kekén.
Another key aspect is the environmental temperature control in the process of reproduction of swine in hot environments. This is very important for the comfort of animals and for them to achieve their maximum productivity.
By 2015, the company plans to commercialize more than 180,000 tons of meat per year.
Subsequently, the construction of new plants and farms will become a basis for their second goal, which is to produce 340,000 tons of meat per year by 2020.