From sunflowers to innovative crackers
Exactly 31 years ago, in the north of Vojvodina, village of Hajdukovo, Ivan Peričić founded the family company Suncokret, with the intention of bringing the macrobiotic way of eating closer to the Yugoslav market. Ivan, as a long-time vegetarian and lover of a healthy lifestyle, became a pioneer and founder in the field of organic production of cold-pressed oils, primarily virgin pumpkin and sesame oil. Today, the company Sunflower has an assortment of over 60 products, many of which are unique and authentic (balsamic pomegranate vinegar, balsamic raspberry vinegar, walnut butter, etc.).
Since Ivan is a vegetarian, he knows this diet problems, and that is certainly the lack of protein. Accordingly, he came up with the idea to develop a family of protein-gluten-free crackers for vegans and vegetarians. Innovative products now have over 25 percent protein which distinguishes them from products of that kind. The composition of salty and sweet protein crackers is carefully selected, highly nutritious, exclusively of organic origin, and is suitable for athletes as well as children.
Entrepreneurial and innovative spirit is written in the genes of the Perčić family, so Ksenija, Ivan's daughter, introduced a new visual identity of the company in 2013, under the Granum brand, and in less than seven years became a market leader in healthy food. The Granum brand has 8 product families and uniqueness and innovation play an extremely important role in their production. Today, processing of residues from the production of cold-pressed oils (circular ecology), is an absolute world trend. Accordingly, Perčić family tandem, uses this type in their production.
"For this type of production, we needed a machine that forms the self- packaging bags and fills them with crackers. After that, it puts gas that protects the product, extends its shelf life and then closes the bag. All this, we succeeded with the significant financial support of the European Union, through the program of the Innovation Fund. That is how we got higher productivity and continuous, economically sustainable production, "Ksenija pointed out.
Also, the funds of the European Union helped them to afford a line tunnel oven, which enables them to improve the speed, efficiency, and quality of baking protein crackers, as well as other products.
In 2019, winner of numerous awards and recognitions, Ivan took the title of Innovative Entrepreneur. Suncokret products with a unique composition, nutritious and tasty, without harmful ingredients, have been recognized by consumers across Europe and Asia. Protein gluten-free crackers are absolutely number one on the Serbian market. They are present in most food chains and that’s what sets them apart from the competition.
"We are currently working on a more striking and noticeable design and we want to conquer new markets next year. The Granum brand is present on the market of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Qatar and the Netherlands, and under a private brand in France, Hungary and the United Kingdom. We are working hard to promote and expand the market in terms of exports to all countries in which we are present, "said Ivan.
Direct Grant Agreement - Development of new products and services by SMEs through the commercialization of research, signed between the Innovation Fund and the Ministry of Finance (Sector for Contracting and Financing Programs from European Union Funds), provides funds for continued implementation of the Early Development Program and the Co-financing Innovation Program. The total value of the Direct Grant Agreement is 4.5 million euros, of which 2.5 million euros are financed from the European Union Pre-Accession Funds for 2014, while 2 million euros are provided from the budget of the Republic of Serbia, from the Ministry of education, science and technological development. You can find out more about the project at: www.inovacionifond.rs