Laucke Flour Mills combines a fascinating blend of rich, colourful history and 21st century technology, evolving into a company that is now exporting to many countries including China from its regional South Australian base at Strathalbyn.
The Laucke story can be traced to Friedrich Laucke, who arrived from Germany in 1895, and commenced milling in South Australian’s famous Barossa Valley. Friedrich’s descendants still operate the business, making it the last of Australia’s industry-founding family-owned and operated independent millers.
Sales Manager, Darren Curnow, says while Laucke has been supplying customers in Hong Kong for decades, they have only been exporting to mainland China for about two years and it’s a market which will play a big role in the company’s future.
“Because the culture of Laucke and the Chinese people have so many shared values, we understand each other’s perspective,” he said.
“I am now planning my fourth trip to China in 18 months, which is important, firstly for brand recognition and subsequently fulfilling the expectation of support and creditability.
“Apart from the opportunity such a large market presents to our overall growth strategy, the desire for clean and safe quality food has attracted Chinese interests to contact us for imminent supply.
“We know that branding and packaging that works domestically is not necessarily going to suit Chinese consumers, so attending food exhibitions where products can be tasted and assessed is important to obtain direct feedback. Cultural and business relationship values must also be understood and observed.
“The specific model used, was to respond to all enquiries and maintain contact, build relationships and trust. The Chinese do not normally rush into new business. Before they make the decision to purchase from you they will qualify your interest and test your resolve.
“Our future plans for China focus on developing long-term forthright relationships with progressive and reliable distributors. My personal approach has been to not over promise and under deliver, and to respectfully request initial upfront payment, with a proposal to progress towards long-term trading terms upon reaching agreed milestones.
“The South Australian Government has provided indirect support to our China export drive through Food SA, a member-based organisation that helps deliver programs on their behalf. Food SA maintains an office in Shanghai to provide “on the ground” support and assistance.