It is quite obvious that a producer can only create creditability through his products. The product is the single most important thing. If the product can prove on the long run, it will make the name behind it creditable. And nobility obliges. Nobody wants to risk his good name. And yet... there are many companies, both multinational and Hungarian ones, which are only known for their products. Béres has a deeper embeddedness, which roots in our history. Just think of our best known product, Béres Drops, which is 44 years old this year. Everybody knows it and it is used by many. I think it is also very important that we do a bit more than just making products. Béres Foundation has been working for more than two decades, representing another aspect of social responsibility on our behalf. In our approach, health is not limited to physical soundness but also includes mental health. Humans are social beings and their health is best preserved in communities. With our activities, we try to promote this holistic approach.
If you switch on your TV, there is quite a chance it will be a health care ad you see first. There is plenty of information out there, yet we seem to become more and more uncertain when it comes to deciding what to buy to preserve the health of our families.
Small wonder, as this market has changed a lot in the past decades. The Transition, the development of modern capitalism and our European accession brought along the free movement of goods. Pharmacies and shops are flooded with health care products. On the one hand it is a favourable development, as we have now multiple choices, on the other hand, responsibilities and risks increased. It is important for everybody to be aware of the fact that while medicines are subject to a scrupulous licencing process, dietary supplements are ready for sale after filling in a data sheet. It is very easy to misuse the trust of people.
Does this really mean that the products launched on the market are not examined, their quality is not controlled and production conditions are not reviewed?
These things are not controlled automatically. Investigations will only start, if there is a problem, in other words when the authorities receive a complaint. It is the producer who is solely responsible for quality, the authorities do not check anything and all this results in a situation where customers are exposed to serious hazards. Unsuspecting consumers may never find out, whether the product bought indeed contained the active ingredient as indicated on the label, or if its quality was OK or it was actually contaminated. And all this in a field, where everything matters as our health is at stake.
Obviously, quality is a function of price as modern technologies, excellent production conditions and premium quality raw materials cost a lot of money, so the product itself will also be expensive. Consumers on the other hand consider price a very important factor. Unfortunately, most of us cannot ignore this aspect.
Price is a significant factor of course, but when it comes to our very health, it is very important that our buying decision should not depend on it only. I do not say we should always buy the most expensive product, but if we can help it, we should always consider quality first. Only the right products can help us improve the quality of our lives and a poor quality product will rather cause harm than just a minor nuisance.
Your father, Dr. József Béres Senior, the inventor of Béres Drops put the curing of people before everything else, so much so, that he gave away his drops free to those queuing in front of his door. Since then, Béres Pharmaceuticals has grown into a major company with 400 employees. Were you able to preserve the values of your reputable predecessor without conflicting with the aspects of profit generation?
I am deeply convinced that this world is damned, if money is all that matters. Following the footsteps of my father, we are striving to live a life based on the principles of professionality, reliability and quality. We develop, produce and also sell our products accordingly. Also in communication, we focus on ethical solutions. Whatever we claim regarding a product, the information is always professionally sound, correct and real. Béres cannot allow to cheat. We have sworn to fight for the health of others. I do believe we can stay alive this way, too, and even be successful. Of course it will not work just like that, it takes a lot of time and perseverance. My father made the first steps: for our society, he is the image of reliability even today. We are trying to follow his path. However, it only works in a mutual context. Consumers need to have a certain well developed awareness so that they can recognize the producers they can put their trust in. They should also value Hungarian family businesses and select their products.
You often mention you are building a Hungarian company and feel responsible most of all for the Hungarian nation – both in Hungary and across the borders. What is the added value this approach may represent?
Wherever we live, our primary task cannot be anything else but to support those living in the same community. It applies to everybody, without exception. We were placed by God into this corner of the world, we were created to be Hungarian. And we are quite happy with it. It is but natural that we relate to this community, this is where we have to work and be successful, this is where we have to give each other as much as possible. “Local grounds” have lots of advantages of course, we know the local conditions, nutritional surveys inform us in detail about the eating habits of Hungarian people, we know what we lack and we also know what we have too much of. We consider all this information when developing our products. The effects of our products are scientifically proven and we never offer anything to our customers we would not take ourselves. We focus on avoiding illnesses that is on prevention. We believe in what my father taught to people: it is much easier to prevent illnesses than to cure them. A weakened body has to put a lot of effort into recovering. When your body is in top form, our task is much easier.
As you mentioned, preliminary checks by the authorities is not a requirement and it is the producers who take all the responsibility. What do you do to guarantee constant quality?
There are legal rules and ethical rules, governing our lives. A decent person will not only comply with legal requirements, when he is enforced. We are as careful producing our dietary supplements as if they were medicines, regarding active ingredients, best before dates and technologies. We trust ourselves as we build on knowledge and follow an ethical way of conduct. This is why we are creditable and this is why people trust us. Developing the image of a company takes a lot of time. We receive feedback on a daily basis, in the form of both letters and personal testimonials. Consumers love our products, they tell us how grateful they are when a preparation of ours helped them in curing themselves or preserving their health. They value our name and they know us. We all feel this, employees, family, and kids alike. Our company was founded as one of the first businesses after the Transition. I left a very successful career as a research chemist because of it. Yet I never regretted my decision for a minute and neither did my wife, Klára Béres, hers. We get our strength every day from the feeling that our work is useful and we are loved and trusted by people. We can help others all the time, with our products and charities.
Your wife, Klára Béres is the Communications Manager of the company. The two eldest of your three children, Melinda and Marcell also work for the company. Was it obvious from the beginning that they would follow their parents?
We did not want to “lasso” our kids to work at the company. But they grew up like this. They know they possess a value their grandfather had fought for and we also sacrificed a lot for it, too. Surely they have a strong urge to carry on with our work. Our kids had the opportunity to educate themselves specifically and study at special schools that prepare them for business life. I, for example, have never been your typical businessman. Melinda and Marcell on the other hand are excellent economists. As for our third child Merse, right now he is immersed in geography at the university, but sometimes he asks us what else to study so that he can join our company. As parents, we are very glad to see our efforts were not in vain and we are motivated by our children’s intensions to carry on the business.
What is it you and your family can do for your own health?
Honestly, we are not perfect. We have very little free time, we often rush and do not exercise enough. But we are trying to lead a conscious life and do what needs to be done for our health, even if it is often less than the ideal. We regularly walk, we are keen on cycling, swimming and hiking. I myself sometimes play tennis. We also consider healthy nutrition and health monitoring very important, both for ourselves and our colleagues. We regularly go for screenings and check-ups.
And you take Béres Drops in the flu season.....
Even if it wasn’t so, I would have to say “of course”. But thank God, my conscience is clear when I say “yes” as Béres Drops are compulsory in our family. And not only the Drops themselves, family members can take whatever they need from the range. We consume a lot of Csonterő (Bone Power), Porcerő (Cartilage Power) and vitamin D. My eldest son swears on Antifront, our product against weather sensitivity.