Some of the best vegetable oils in Romania are produced in the heart of Transylvania. It is a family business unique in its own way. “Luna Solai” cold pressed oils are produced exclusively from Romanian seeds and their high quality has been certified by the specialists of the International Taste & Quality Institute of Brussels (ITQi).
Four years ago, the company received the title of Official Supplier of the Royal House of Romania, and last year, the cold pressed oil factory received the certification required to produce organic oils. The first organic oil put on the market by the Cluj company is the linseed oil. The plans of the members of the Tulai family, who owns and runs this cold pressed oil factory, don’t stop here.
A hobby turned into a successful business
The story of Luna Solai cold pressed oils began in 1998, with the purchase of a 5,000-euro oil press that found its place in the parents’ yard. After retirement, they started to produce cold-pressed sunflower oil from the seeds brought by villagers or farmers in the region.
What seemed like a hobby at first turned into a prosperous business, and the range of oils diversified. “I made the decision to create our own product back in 2011, when I realised that there is a growing demand for cold-pressed oils, which is not satisfied by the offer present on the market. My colleagues were asking for this product knowing that my parents were preparing it in their small manufacture from Luna”, says Felicia Tulai, Luna Solai Brand Manager.
Being aware of the importance of marketing and of a well-established brand, thanks to her previous business experience, Felicia Tulai set out on her way with the desire to create a premium brand with the strengths of the Romanian area and soils. Nowadays she produces, besides sunflower oil, pumpkin seed oil, linseed oil, hemp seed oil, walnut oil, rape seed oil, and some of the oils are spiced with aromatic plants: “All the seeds we use come from the Transylvanian Plateau. There are 100% Romanian oils”, says Mihail Tulai, the co-founder of the family business.
Since the best way to promote a product is to obtain international recognition, four of the cold pressed oils have been sent for evaluation by the International Taste & Quality Institute in Brussels. All four received scores considered by the experts to be the equivalent of Michelin stars that evaluate the performance of refined restaurants. “This is a blind evaluation. The members of the jury do not know who the producer is or where it comes from”, says Felicia Tulai. In 2017 the sunflower oil received 3 stars, and those of pumpkin, walnut and rape received two stars of maximum three stars.
A new chapter began at the end of 2016, more precisely on 7 October, when the Luncani production unit (Luna, Cluj County) was inaugurated.
Located in a more generous space, the new unit is configured to meet the technological process required for processing larger quantities of seeds and for storing raw material and finished product in specially designed spaces.
The entire department abides by the standards imposed by the ISO 22000 quality management system with which LUNA SOLAI products are certified.
This way, the tremendous potential of the Transylvanian Plateau is valorised, an area rich in tradition, history and culinary habits. The company also aims to support the efforts of farmers in the area, the local agriculture and economy, much of the raw material used to obtain the oils is supplied by them.
The human potential present here and its capitalization in the new production facility was another factor that contributed to the decision to open the new unit in Luncani. The team ensuring the process of obtaining oils is currently small, but it will grow in the future, taking into account the development and diversification strategy of the range of oils.
The royal visit to Luncani
“We were especially honoured to receive Her Royal Highness, Princess Maria, in the new production facility, 2 years after we became supplier of the Royal House of Romania”, says Felicia Tulai. ”9 November 2016 is a special day in our soul calendar, as we were given the opportunity to enjoy the presence of Her Royal Highness, meet her in person and discover a wonderful character, a noble soul and an extraordinary modesty. We spent beautiful moments together, we shared the tradition and culinary habits of the area and we enjoyed the moment offered by the Association of Voluntary Women in Luna. On departure, HRH Princess Maria wrote a message in the Luna Solai Book of Honour that is to be read by all those who will visit us”, said Felicia Tulai about the royal visit.