Darina Stoyanova, CEO, manages a company that makes life tastier
Trayana or Mirage biscuits, Naya wafers... When we crave something sweet, we often opt for the products of a Bulgarian company that for 25 years has taken care of the sweet moments in our life. Prestige-96 wafers, biscuits and cake bars are known and loved not only in Bulgaria, but also in 30 countries around the world. The company is also socially engaged, with focus on children and young adults in Bulgaria.
This is why Darina Stoyanova, CEO of Prestige-96 since 2014, talks about her work with such joy. Her impressive professional biography includes 9 years as President of Henkel Bulgaria and active participation as a founder and member of the board of directors of the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria and the Food and Drink Bulgaria Association. Together with her husband she established at the language high-school in Pravets, which they have both graduated, the School for Leaders: Be Inspired initiative, dedicated to students' personal and professional growth.
For 25 years Bulgarians have chosen Prestige products when they "crave something sweet." How did you achieve such longevity?
Prestige aims to give people the best of what they love in the best possible way at an affordable price, and to create moments of joy. Our consumers respond with their trust. Our success is the result of a successful sales and marketing strategy, investment in the development of our brands and production, and our employees' care, inspiration and motivation. In Bulgaria we are the market leader in all categories in which we operate: biscuits, wafers and cake bars. Prestige is also a first-rate sales organisation. Our partners can trust us for the growth of our shared business.
Prestige balances between traditional tastes, such as coated wafers, and novelties such as products without added sugar. How do you guarantee the quality of your products?
We do detailed consumer surveys, we monitor the current situation and we strive to predict future market trends. Behind each idea stand the cooperation with qualified marketing and R&D professionals, and a lot of product testing. Our departments for quality control constantly monitor for the strict application of the high standards we have set. We also have modern laboratories for physico-chemical, organoleptic and microbiological analysis of the quality of ingredients, packaging, semi-processed and ready products. Over 700 tests are performed in the company in the span of 24 hours. We use ingredients from the best international manufacturers and we partner with international experts.
How do the ideas of new versions of Prestige well-known brands get born?
Our consumers inspire us. They are in the heart of Prestige and this is why Prestige is in their hearts! We are happy to create things that people love and we do it in the best possible way. We aim to win consumers at the moment of the truth: when they shop, when they snack and when they talk about Prestige. We survey the market and the consumers attitudes using our own sources, independent global research agencies, quality surveys and even direct contact. Because in small shops vendors and buyers still talk and this is a source of invaluable information.
How does Prestige answer to the current trend to consume less sugar?
Our series of healthy biscuits and wafers Prestige Wellness without added sugar was developed in cooperation with the Bulgarian Association Diabetes. Our mission was to create incredibly tasty and healthy products that stand out on the Bulgarian and international market with an innovative approach towards ingredients selection. The Prestige Wellness probiotic sandwich biscuits won the big award in the Best Snack Product category in one of the largest international food industry expos, in 2018.
We cut 30% of the sugar content in the Prestige Muesli biscuits and communicated this clearly on the packaging. This is why we were the only Bulgarian company commended by the FoodDrinkEurope international organisation.
The ingredients we use are manufactured by some of the best international producers, such as Barry Callebaut Group, Givaudan and ААК. Our products do not contain hydrogenated fats, GMO, artificial colourings and sweeteners.
Prestige is also an example for corporate care to the environment and the employees. What policies do you apply?
We, at Prestige, believe that success is not measured solely in the growth of financial indicators, but also in the positive influence, the values taught and the messages sent to the society.
Our strategy for sustainable growth focuses on growth via targeted socially responsible investment in the fields of environmental, social and corporate governance. We invested in new machines and we changed the construction of our wafer boxes to reduce used paper with 34%, or 200,000 kg per year. This equals saving a forest that covers a football pitch area. Another of our goals is by 2025 to use 100% recyclable plastic packaging. We also initiate causes focused on education, personal growth, culture, sport and healthy living. Our mission is for Prestige to support children and young adults in Bulgaria, and to be a stable and reliable partner to its current and future employees.
A campaign at Razgrad Hospital
In the challenging 2020 Prestige realised a donation initiative for doctors, nurses, support and administrative staff in Bulgarian hospitals. We wanted to say "Thank you and be brave!" and to make them smile, even behind the masks, and to believe that together we shall prevail! We donated over 40,000 Prestige products with this special message to dozens of hospitals. We also donated life-saving medical equipment to the Veliko Tarnovo hospital.
What is your favourite Prestige product?
My family was a fan of Prestige products long before I joined the company. At home we always have Roden Kray biscuits, Wellness and Muesli for breakfast, my favourite Naya wafers and my son's preferred Mirage biscuits. I also started stocking up Naya cake bars as my niece loves them so much. When I am outside home, I snack on Spoko wafers.