Loux is the largest Greek soft drink and juice company. While he setting up his company, Panagiotis Marlafekas, had approached a talented local song composer to give him a list of possible names for the new business. Among the ten proposed, ‘Loux’ was on the list. It was the post-World War II era when the word ‘Loux’ became synonymous for luxury, special care, and superior quality. That was the major reason it was chosen.
Plato Marlafekas, Vice President and Head of Marketing and Exports spoke to The National Herald about the company.
TNH: How has the pandemic affected operations and planning?
PLATO MARLAFEKAS: The effects of the pandemic will have direct and indirect effects on Greek businesses, which are now sailing in uncharted waters and face unprecedented conditions. The soft drink industry has been hit by the pandemic as the markets have turned cold as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry – which is an important channel for soft drink sales. At the moment, therefore it is not easy to estimate the exact effects of the pandemic – there are too many unknowns even in the near term. However, in the case of Loux, the losses that occurred in the HORECA [hospitality industry] channel during the first lockdown and now, were offset by the increase in retail sales.
Loux always moves with flexibility and adaptability and follows the developments and demands of the market. In this context, it is considering the creation of a new product line, as a result of the continuous and increased demand for its products in recent years, which will be completed as soon as market conditions normalize. The immediate plans are to create new flavors in our soft drink lines, which are in the final stage of development by the R&D department of the company, and we are moving forward in the production of new packaging.
TNH: All food items are now seen in the context of health – tell us about that dimension of your products.
PM: The shift to a balanced diet is an emerging trend, leading the consumer public – which has become increasingly demanding in recent years – to product choices that address their standard of living and well-being concerns. A typical example is the demand for low calorie soft drinks, without added sugar, balancing quality, enjoyment, and low calorie intake. Loux, emphasizing innovation in its new product proposals and investing in the uninterrupted dialogue with the consumer public, launched the new generation of ‘plus 'n light’ products with 0% sugar, 100% natural sweeteners, and high vitamin C content in its orange juice and lemonade with 60% fewer calories. A new plus 'n light tea line was released, whose recipe also follows the plus' n light philosophy, resulting in ideal choices for a more balanced diet.
TNH: The Greek/Mediterranean diet is steadily spreading around the world, where do your products and plans fit in?
PM: The Mediterranean Diet is not based on sophisticated and complex processes and technologies. On the contrary, it mostly emphasizes the amazing and high quality materials and products of the Greek land. It highlights the products of the rich soil and the value of the bright sun, but also the intelligent taste combinations created by the Greek people. This doctrine is respected and followed by Loux, which from 1950 until today offers a complete range of soft drinks and juices that are distinguished for their quality and authentic recipes, redefining the prospects of the Greek soft drink. Its priority always remains the selection – with absolute priority – of Greek raw materials of superior quality, which is reflected in the special taste of Loux products. Loux juices and soft drinks are a product representative of the fruits of the Greek land and Greece’s talented human resources.
It is worth noting that Greek soft drinks in general, but also Loux soft drinks in particular, have a content of 20% natural juice while drinks from other countries have a content of natural juice from 0% to 6%. These are the so-called soft drinks, while we create juice drinks.
TNH: Tell us about your company/family's philanthropic work.
PM: Loux, which this year celebrates 70 years of tradition and history, has made contributions to society and to improving the living standards of the country's citizens a priority by following an extensive CSR program.
Loux has strongly supported the country's healthcare personnel staff by creating the original Loux Plai-Plai mobile application, which the user can download for free and enjoy quality and up-to-date content. Our company has been offering to the National Health System 1€ for each download of the free application, which led to the purchase of cutting edge medical devices for the General Hospital of Patras ‘Agios Andreas’. At the same time, we collaborated with the Greek Red Cross and coordinated a nationwide blood donation program, collecting significant quantities of blood. Loux also organized a Charity Kart Race which generated a significant amount of funds for the local organization Kivotos tou Kosmou-Ark of the World which focuses on mother-child protection.