Macedonian Ajvar conquering Norway

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A pepper-based condiment made from red bell peppers made in Macedonia is slowly but surely becoming more and more popular in Norway with an aim to make it to all household.

As Huffington Post said, caviar is so last season and Ajvar is the next big thing. Macedonians have got it first and their Ajvar made it all the way to Norway.

A Macedonian Ajvar producer MAMA’S is present in the Scandinavian market for over six years now. According to Ilina Bakev, International sales manager, they entered the Norwegian market through their their Swedish partner. It is not all that easy for a Balkan company to enter the Scandinavian market but MAMA’s had its own strategy.

“MAMA’S strategy is usually divided in two phases. Phase one is to target ethno population who knows about traditional products from the Balkan region and consume them regularly. As second phase since MAMA’S is premium, quality and unique product we target the local population,” Ms Bakev explains adding that they are now entering the retail stores in order to get closer to the locals. They are already present in Dagab, Coop, Ica, Axfood, Eurospar.

However, it has been, and still is a challenge to educate the Scandinavians how to consume MAMA’S and in which ways to combine it with other food. “What goes in our favor and is good thing is that the Northern people are open to trying new, healthy tastes and they are open to health, 100%, vegan food which is MAMA’S,” she said.

In order to enter the Scandiavian marker, MAMA’s had to meet certain criteria. As for the quality of the products they had all certificates requested for export, but for the labeling of the products they needed to make specific changes in order to meet the law in Sweden. “MAMA’S strategy anyhow is before export to any country in the world to have the labels and promotional materials translated in local language, approved by our partners,” Ms Bakev noted. 

Although their presence on the Norwegian market is small for us, they receive constant feedback from locals about MAMA’S and not just from the Balkan population. “And this fact is very important to us because it shows us that Norwegians are premium taste lovers and satisfied from our products,” Ms Bakev said.

Their plan is to further expand in Norway. “Since we see huge potential on the Norwegian market, our mission and vision is to expand all over the country through different sells channels until we are present in every household,” she concluded.