Adding value – through strategic specialization.
We focus on specialty food and pharma ingredients and have been dedicated to identifying new, innovative applications for these since 1945. It’s a strategy that’s paid off. Headquartered in Ried im Innkreis, Austria, and with 16 subsidiaries, KUK is now one of Central and Eastern Europe’s most well-known providers in these sectors. Our aim is to act as a link between internationally renowned suppliers of select ingredients, and food and pharma manufacturers which adhere to the highest standards of quality. On site, in the local language, and supported by a team of solution experts.
Adding value – with our unconventional approach.
KUK: three letters with a single goal. To be the link that adds value. Between ingredients experts, product developers and demanding end consumers. Whoever we target, we always keep the bigger picture in mind. We ask questions. We do our research. And we tailor our expertise to our customers’ exact needs – until we've found the perfect recipe. The more unique the task, the more innovative our approach – both unconventionally flexible and exceptionally future-oriented.
Adding value - with our pioneering vision
Listening, to hear what the market needs. Already there, when others are just starting out. The founders of KUK, Krist, Ulrich and Kössl, enlivened the post-war market with artificial honey, which met with enthusiastic acceptance. With the start of pectin production, the company laid the foundation for further successes.
A new visionary joins the team: Herbert Karsch leads the growth of the pectin business and sees the potential of distribution business – shifting the company’s focus from production to distribution at a strategically critical moment. The firm begins applying its expertise to trading ingredients for the food industry.
Anton Kirchtag arrives on the scene. Over the next few years, he responds to the opening up of Eastern Europe by internationalizing the business – and is one step ahead of the emerging trend for large-scale distribution networks. Under his leadership, KUK stops thinking in terms of countries and starts thinking in terms of regions – that’s KUKalization.
With 25 respected representationes, KUK is now one of Austria’s leading distributors. In 1993, the company enters the Hungarian market and establishes itself as an interregional company trading beyond Austria’s borders. Then, in 1994, it opens its first subsidiary: KUK-Bohemia in Prague. This is the starting point for rolling out lean, expert teams throughout the Eastern European market.
Anton Kirchtag is among the first people to identify the new trend for “functional food”, and once again becomes a pioneer. He expands the company’s portfolio to include nutraceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients – an area in which KUK is now a leading distributor. By 2001, the company has subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Slovakia.
By this point, KUK has a foothold in the four largest CEE markets – Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia – as well as Kazakhstan. Katrin Kirchtag joins the company in 2010 and leads KUK into the digital age, securing its future in Europe.
KUK opens subsidiaries in Albania and Macedonia, plus test kitchens at all KUK locations.
KUK reaches another milestone: new Application Centers in Győr, Hungary, and Kiev, Ukraine, allow the company to build on its existing expertise in specially equipped labs, and improve its services for customers and suppliers. New state-of-the-art equipment allows the firm to simulate more complex, technically challenging production processes and develop solutions that are an exact fit for customers’ needs. Research, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are key elements of the company’s vision.