Bulgaria is a new and rapidly developing market economy and is easily affected by fluctuations in the world market. In 2009, the economic growth rate dropped by 4.95% due to the global recession – however, economic growth in 2010 is forecasted to be 0.2% and 3.6% in 2011.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number:
Exporter Guide - Bulgaria
Hoa Van Huynh
Drafted by MBMD-Edited by FAS/Sofia
Bulgaria is a new and rapidly developing market economy and is easily affected by fluctuations in the
world market. In 2009, the economic growth rate dropped by 4.95% due to the global recession ?
however, economic growth in 2010 is forecasted to be 0.2% and 3.6% in 2011. As a result of recent
political changes, Bulgaria?s relations with the EU are improving, and trade is expected to increase in
order to contribute economic benefits in the future. Bulgaria is recognized as an excellent gateway for
trade expansion into the wider EU market. Bulgarian market, rapidly expanding, is not well known by
the U.S. agricultural exporters. The annual e US agricultural exports to Bulgaria are around 20 million
USD (ranging between USD 14.0 and USD 58.0 million over the last 5 years, source; USDA/BICO
reports, U.S. Customs) . In 2010, agricultural and food imports in Bulgaria are around US$2.513 .
I. Market Overview
Bulgaria is a new and rapidly developing market economy, with gradually decreasing government
involvement in foreign investment and trade. For comparison in the beginning of the transition to
market economy in 1989, the share of private sector employees was practically 0%, and at the end of
2010 it employs nearly ¾ (74%) of employees. Incoming foreign investments during the last few years
mainly in the construction sector and the real estate market become the engine of the economy.
Foreign investments generated 11% of country GDP in 2008. Exports of industrial supplies, consumer
goods, fuels and lubricants, generate 31% of the GDP and also contribute to the country?s economic
development. However, this dependence on exports and foreign investments also makes the local
economy vulnerable to global demand fluctuations. In 2009, the economy suffered a 4.95% decline in
economic growth due to the global economic recession. The decline has its origins mainly in reduced
foreign investments in the real estate sector. Before the global recession, Bulgarian GDP was growing
at a rate of about 5-6% each year. According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance, the economy was
growing with 0.2% for 2010 and economy is expected to grow 3.6% for 2011. Indicators of economic
revival are found in reducing of the unemployment during the last months and the solid increasing of
Bulgarian export over the level from the last year before the recession ? 2008.
Bulgarian economy is going through fundamental restructuring during the transition to market
economy. In 1989 Bulgaria?s leading trade partner was the Soviet Union. About 65% of Bulgarian
exports were directed to the USSR, and 53% of Bulgarian imports were coming from the Soviet. In
2010 just 2.8% of Bulgarian exports are directed to Russia, and from Russia Bulgaria receives 16.1% of
its imports ? mainly energy resources. Today the major trade partner of Bulgaria is the EU. The
Bulgarian exports share to the EU is 60.9%, and its import share from the EU ? 58.7%.
Bulgarian services? sector has been growing steadily from 43.0% of GDP in 1991, to 73.0% of GDP,
as of 2009. At the same time, agriculture has been decreasing from 14.2% and
now it contributes to 5.6% of GDP. Industry has been decreasing too from 42.8% to 21.4% between
1991 and 2009.
The chart below illustrates Bulgarian?s economic situation in recent years.
National Economy 2007 2008 2009 2010
GDP (million USD) 42,116 51,821 48,722 47,483
GDP per capita (USD) 5,498 6,798 6,423 6,289
Economic Growth Rate (%) + 6.45 + 6.19 - 4.95 +0.20
USD à BGN Exchange Rate 1 ? 1.42904 1 ? 1.33720 1 ? 1.40670 1 ? 1.48420
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria, Bulgarian National Bank
Leading Bulgarian trade partners today are EU Member States, neighbor countries and Russia. Both by
import and export, main trade partners of Bulgaria are Germany with market share of 11.2%, Russia
(10.2%), Italy (8.4%), , Romania (8.0%), Greece (6.9%) and Turkey (6.8%).
The USA does not pertain to Bulgaria?s leading trade partners. The USA receives around 1%-2% of
Bulgarian exports. Imports from USA provide about 1% of total Bulgarian imports. Such data
indicates that the trade relations between Bulgaria and USA are not yet intensive and that there are good
opportunities for further development in the future.
The decrease of GD P and foreign investments in Bulgaria due to the economic crisis is influencing
negatively on imports of goods from the USA. As a whole, imports of goods in the country are
decreasing, and that applies harder to the goods with investment purpose.
In spite of the crisis and reduction of population, the physical volume of consumption of food and
edible fishery products increases by 2%-3% annually. Prices of the food and edible fishery products
have increased strongly in the recent years, which combined with the increase of physical volume of
consumption leads to an increase of 6%-7% per annum in the value of food and edible fishery
products sales .
Increase of consumption of food and edible fishery products has created prerequisites for an increase of
Migration of people from rural to urban areas continues at a rapid pace.
Bulgarian market is accessible by sea.
Growing food processing industry at a rate of 6-8% annually is looking for new imported food
Bulgarian domestic distribution systems are efficient.
Marketing costs to increase consumer awareness are low.
Bulgarian membership in the European Union has put the US exporters in a less comfortable position
than those in the EU member states because of the imposed duties.
Bulgarian domestic producers are receiving European funding to upgrade production efficiency and
Bulgarian farmers increase agricultural production, reducing demand for imports in the country.
Declining population adversely affects consumption of food and edible fishery products.
The increase in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar puts U.S. exporters at a disadvantage compared
with exporters of the eurozone. Bulgarian lev has a fixed exchange rate against the euro.
The chart below demonstrates Bulgarian?s export and import statistics in recent years.
International Transactions 2007 2008 2009 2010
Total Exports (FOB) (million USD) 18,493 22,238 16,266 20.542
Exports to EU (FOB) (%) 62.2 % 60.0 % 64.9 % 60.9%
Exports to the U.S. (FOB) (%) 2.3 % 1.6 % 1.6 % 1.4%
Total Imports (CIF) (million USD) 29,920 36,703 23,463 23,463
Imports from EU (CIF) (%) 58.5 % 56,7 % 60.0 % 60.0%
Imports from the U.S. (CIF) (%) 1.1 % 1,1 % 0.8 % 0.7%
Source: Bulgarian Statistical Institute Bulgaria
Geography and Demographics
Bulgaria is strategicially located in South-East Europe, on the commercial route between Europe and
Asia. Bulgaria has a population of 7.537 thousand people (2010 year) and a total area of about 111,002
square kilometers, it is densely populated with roughly 68 persons per square kilometer. 63,765 square
kilometers of Bulgarian territory is agricultural land, 37,158 square kilometers/sq.km. are forestry;
4,603 sq. km. are settlements and other urbanized areas; 2,010 sq. km are water flow and water areas;
2,711 sq/km. are territory for mining and quarrying raw materials; and 755 sq.km. are transport and
infrastructure territory. Sofia is Bulgaria?s capital with a population of over 1.250 thousand people.
Sofia is situated in the South-Western Bulgaria. The second and third largest cities in Bulgaria are,
respectively, Plovdiv in Central South Bulgaria, with population about 348 thousand people, and Varna
in the west coast of the Black Sea, with population of approximately 321 thousand people (2010 year).
Bulgarian population has been decreasing recently. Senior citizens over 65 years currently make up
over 17% of the Bulgarian population, a figure which will continue to grow as birth rates are low and
life expectancies increase. Health care and medicine are currently in high demand with the senior
population in Bulgaria. Expenses for seniors` health care will increase in the future. Meanwhile, the
traditional model of nuclear family (married with two children) is gradually replaced by the model of
cohabitation and one child. During the last few years a slight birth rate increase is registered, but not as
a consistent tendency.
In Bulgaria there is a significant difference in consumer behavior of young working people and elderly
retirees. Young workers earn higher incomes, and hence greater consumption. Young people are
buying better quality products, visit restaurants, go on holidays and other. In contrast, older pensioners
receive lower pensions and limit themselves to the most pressing. The average annual salary in
Balgaria is $ 5.523 and the average annual pension is $ 1.871. This shows that young people have
three times the purchasing power of pensioners. It has been noted that the number of pensioners in the
country is close to 2,250 million people or otherwise they are equal to one third of the population.
There are significant differences between big cities and small towns and villages. In major cities,
employment is high, income too and young people are aiming for them. In contrast, in small towns and
villages unemployment is high, the income is low and consumption has shrunk, with many of the food
and beverages being produced by the people themselves.
In Bulgaria, only 3% of the people define their income as high, and 36% as average. The remaining
61% defined it as low.
The chart below illustrates the average demographics in recent years.
Bulgarian Demographics 2007 2008 2009 2010
Birth Rates (%) 9.8 10.2 10.7 11.0
Death Rate (%) 14.8 14.5 14.2 13.9
Age Structure 0 ? 14 yrs (%) 13.4 13.4 13.6 13.6
Age Structure 15 ? 64 yrs (%) 69.3 69.2 68.9 68.8
Age Structure 65+ yrs (%) 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6
Source: Bulgarian Statistical Institute Bulgaria
II. Exporter Business Tips
Except for major importers with their own offices in Bulgaria, the appointment of an effective import
agent is a critical decision. Invaluable background information can be provided by representatives from
the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
http://bulgaria.usembassy.gov/fas.html, U.S. Embassy or representatives of commodity or trade
associations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria of Sofia. See their website at
http://www.amcham.bg for a full list of U.S. Producer Association offices located in Bulgaria.
Although factors will vary from case to case, key issues to be considered include:
What is the extent of the agent?s network of distributors, owned or leased storage capacity, and
owned or leased transportation arrangements? In particular, does the agent have strong contacts
with the responsible purchasing officers in the target sales channels?
Does the agent have a high proportion of direct-to-market channels or are they heavily
dependent on multiple distribution levels?
Is the agent developing -value-added communications and promotions or are they dependent on
price discounts as major sales tool?
Does the agent have complementary product lines? Although cases vary, exclusivity can provide
better incentives to the agent and can help the exporter to maintain improved supervision over
price and product integrity.
Does the agent have connections to and networks on the other Balkan markets for future sales
Bulgarian convenience store, supermarket, and hypermarket chains generally purchase from local
importers, wholesalers, and producers. However, recent tendency is to increase the volume of direct
imports to avoid higher cost of products purchased from importers and local producers. Best method to
reach Bulgarian retail buyers and prospective importers initially is to contact them directly via e-mail or
fax. Product catalogues and price lists are essential, and samples are very helpful. Bigger Bulgarian
retail players are Metro, Billa, Kaufland, Carrefour, Penny, Lidl, Picadilly and Fantastico. U.S.
suppliers can obtain useful information about them on their websites:
The market share of retail chains , according to various estimates, is between 35% and 40%, and it is
constantly growing. A prerequisite for this is the concentration of population in large cities. Retail
chains in Bulgaria are constantly expanding their networks, they are among the largest investors in the
A visit to Bulgaria is imperative in establishing meaningful relationships with Bulgarian buyers.
Personal relationships and face-to-face meetings are important. While visiting Bulgaria, it is advisable
to bring along product samples to meetings with potential buyers, as many importers and retailers rely
heavily upon subjective factors when deciding on new products to represent.
The typical Bulgarian businessman usually has several interests rather than a single product line. As
the incomes of Bulgarian consumers increase, so does their taste in new products. In order to meet the
increasing demand and need for differentiation, importers constantly keep searching for new products,
including new-to-market products and new brands of certain products. On the other hand, many
importers follow the customary Bulgarian pattern of collecting basic information (samples, catalogues,
prices, supply schedules, etc.) initially for consideration. A trial order to test the market response might
then be placed after further contact. Importers generally specialize in a certain product category, and
often join with other importers to consolidate shipments for lower overall risks and costs.
Sales and Marketing
Although sales and marketing techniques in Bulgaria are in process of evolution and development, there
remains a high reliance on price discounts in promotional strategies. To minimize reliance on
discounting strategies, U.S. food and beverage suppliers, particularly those in higher value added
categories, may benefit by focusing on market education and sales training to develop brand recognition
(demand-pull) and consumer preference.
Consumer concerns for personal and family health means that foods and beverages believed to provide
specific health or nutritional benefits can and often do earn a retail premium above what the market
normally bears. Bulgarian consumers tend to be less concerned about cost when shopping for products
believed to provide health benefits and may alter purchasing habits in order to include these foods and
beverages in their diets. Bakery products, confectioneries, soups, oils and fats, and a wide range of
nutritional supplements are just a few examples of product categories for which marketing strategies
based on nutritional and health messages have proven highly successful. Consumers in Bulgaria are
often bombarded by sensational news about food safety, which is causing increased concern and
skepticism. This may provide opportunities for U.S. companies to promote brand value through an
emphasis on natural products and food safety benefits.
Bulgarian Business Customs
Bulgarian businessmen are often refreshingly direct and informal in their business approaches, and do
not have strict business rituals found in other countries. However, there are some local customs that are
well worth observing. Greetings and gifts to mark major feasts such as Christmas, New Year?s Day and
Orthodox Easter are common. These holidays are key sales periods, similar to Thanksgiving and
Christmas in the U.S. American companies should consider advanced timing of introducing new
products to coincide with these busy holiday gift giving seasons. For example, baking companies will
purchase ingredients as early as February or Mart for Easter cake sales during the Easter holiday period,
which falls around April or May, depending on the Orthodox calendar.
Although agents and purchasing managers are always searching for new products, they are also very
thorough in their evaluations of products. They prefer to see product samples whenever possible and
will often place small trial shipments to test the market response.
One of the most popular leisure time activities in Bulgaria involves eating and drinking. Even first
meetings may often be over lunch or dinner. In Bulgaria, entertainment is not only a basic tool to
influence business relationships, but also considered essential to building friendships that can enhance
mutual understanding. Eating and drinking are important parts of Bulgarian culture and every type of
local cuisine is available on the market. More and more different ethnic foods are becoming popular
every day, but the local Bulgarian cuisine is generally preserved. Local businessmen are always very
gracious and will invite trade contacts to dinner and drinking toasts can usually be expected, although
the high alcohol ?rakia? (grape brandy) is reserved for special occasions. However, it is more and
more common to drink red wine with meals and a light amount of toasting each other is important in
developing trust and long-term relationships. The most popular toast in Bulgaria is ?Nazdrave!? and
corresponds to the English ?Cheers!? When congratulated with ?Nazdrave!?, one is supposed just to
taste one?s drink, and not to empty his glass on single gulp.
Speaking Bulgarian is not essential in order to do business in the country. Many people speak English,
and translators are easy to find. However, written materials such as business cards and product
brochures will be far more helpful if translated into Bulgarian.
Many Bulgarians strive to send their children to the finest universities in the United States and Western
Europe. . Therefore, a large percentage of Bulgarian residents speak fluent English, mostly the youth,
who attend English lessons and obtain different language certificates.
The American University (AUB) in Bulgaria provides very good scientific knowledge and practical
skills to its students, who often progress successfully through their careers. The foreign investors often
prefer the AUB graduates for business contacts.
Food Standards and Regulations
Bulgarian food standards and regulations are harmonized with those of the EU. Phytosanitary and vet
control is applied to imported and exported goods with plant and animal origin. Legislation is
harmonized with EU concerning the food safety and marketing standards . For each stage of the food
chain from the plant and animal products to the final customer there are EU harmonized requirements
for working conditions and hygiene. The local food industry has introduced the HACCP system.
U.S. companies are advised to observe strict product labeling requirements , which require that any
health or nutritional claim be first assessed and approved by the Bulgarian National Veterinary Service
and Ministry of Agriculture and food and then added to the prescriptions on product package. The label
must also be translated into Bulgarian. It should contain the type of product, its name, the names of the
manufacturer and importer, the full content of the product, shelf life and others. The country introduced
some specific requirements for labeling of certain products. For example, if a dairy product contains
vegetable oil its label may not contain the word "dairy product" and must be labeled indicating "product
of milk". Cheese containing vegetable oils cannot be offered as cheese, but only as a "product of milk".
In shops, mandatory coloring of the labels was introduced ? labels of dairy products containing
vegetable oils must be white.
For more information on labeling requirements and food standards, especially for recently imposed
requirements for organic food products, please refer to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. Embassy Sofia http://bulgaria.usembassy.gov/fas.html.
III. Market Sector Structure and Trends
In Bulgaria 57.44% of the area is arable land. Domestically, Bulgaria produces wheat, barley, maize,
sunflower, tobacco, fresh vegetables, fruits and grapes. Bulgarian exports are larger than imports with
18%. Bulgaria exports cereals, tobacco and oil seeds and imports meat, vegetables, fruits, sugar, fish
and coffee. Bulgaria is a small market for U.S. agricultural exports. In 2009, U.S. agricultural products
accounted for 0.73% of Bulgaria?s total agricultural imports, reaching a value of $17.9 mil. USD
($19.0 million, according to U.S. Customs). In 2011, U.S. agricultural exports for the period January-
April are rebounding at 83% growth compared with the same period in 2010 (source: USDA/BICO
The chart below illustrates the top 10 countries exporting agricultural products in Bulgaria.
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria
Imports from the United States: The U.S. food products exports to Bulgaria are rather limited and
varieed around $20 million annually. In 2009, the USA ranked 24 among exporters of consumer-
oriented agricultural foods in Bulgaria, and 6 among the exporters of fish and seafood products. U.S.
consumer-oriented agricultural foods exports are estimated at $15 million annually, exports of bulk
commodities ? at about $3 million, and exports of fish and seafood products - at $3 million annually.
This data indicates that stable trade relations between the two countries are to be developed. Indicators
of stable relations will be imports of processed fruits and vegetables, wine and fish.
Bulgaria?s admission to the EU reflects negatively on imports of fruit products from the USA. Import
duties are levied on the US products, unlike the duty-free EU products, meaning that the US exporters
are underprivileged in comparison with EU companies. However, imports of fish and seafood products
are duty-free for EU non-member states which allows the USA to import such products successfully in
context of increasing imports in Bulgaria generally. The same applies to the nuts import. There are
restrictions on import of U.S. poultry in Bulgaria now.
Food Processing Sector
Bulgarian food processing sector steadily increases. In 2008, its registered growth is 14.73%, and
4.72% in 2009, regardless of the global recession and increasing price of commodities worldwide. The
local sector value is estimated at 6.118 mil. USD. in 2009. Local food processors benefited from the
country?s admission to the EU ? duties for EU-imported commodities were repealed and so cheaper
commodities are more easily placed on the market. The EU import duties repeal brings disadvantages
for the non-EU importers. Admission to the EU, combined with increasing insufficiency of livestock
and meat, caused intensifying of trade relations with EU member-states and EU meat exports to
Bulgaria multiplied significantly.
Bulgarian food processing is diversified and provides almost the full spectrum of food products
necessary to meet the demand on the local market, and exports a significant part of food production.
Food processing sector is dominantly financed with Bulgarian capital, but significant number of foreign
investors is also present. Food processors are organized in branch organizations which makes the
options to contact them more accessible and open for the U.S. exporters.
Food Retail Sector
Bulgaria has a well developed retail sector and the economic recession has not affected the food market
growth. Retailers begun to develop private label brands ? major hypermarket/supermarket chains such
as Billa, Carrefour and Metro introduced their own low cost brands. Convenience stores followed that
trend, and convenience store chains such as ?Fantastico? and ?CBA? also have private label brands of
bakery products. Despite the global recession, convenience store chains are steadily expanding.
During the last few years the major hypermarket and supermarket chains steadily expanded and today
they own over 320 supermarkets and hypermarkets. Besides there are over 40,000 convenience stores
nationwide, the densest network in the world, with an average of about one store per 188 people. The
number of convenience stores reduced by 13% for the last 5 years due to the competition of larger
retailers. The major chain stores steadily increase their turnovers at the expense of small shops and
stores. In big cities the number of small retail shops decreases significantly, while in villages and small
towns the number remains constant. There are still no stores established for high-income consumers
who demand premium products and brands.
Big foreign retailers are entering local market aggressively and continuously expand their networks of
stores. Usually when entering, they carry out large advertising. Retailers produce and distribute flyers
and are trying to attract customers with lower prices of certain goods.
At the same time, large retailers pressure manufacturers and importers for lower prices and strict
payment terms. Retailers provide manufacturers and importers with the opportunity to conduct
promotions and tastings in stores for a fee. The fee paid for these services is around 70 dollars per day.
During the holidays normally demand for food is higher . Traditionally, in Bulgaria, the major preferred
meat is pork. For New Year, some Bulgarians buy turkeys, for Easter and St. George the mass buys
lamb, for St. Nicholas Day and Palm Sunday - fish. Recently, Christmas cakes, not traditional for
Bulgaria, are bought. For Easter, people buy or prepare special cakes and paint eggs.
Internet sales are not sufficiently developed in Bulgaria. This especially applies for food. Increasingly
more restaurants offer delivery of food and drinks on site on request by internet or phone. Typically,
payment is done on the spot and electronic payments are rarely used.
HRI Food Service Sector
In 2009, the global recession causeed Bulgarian food service sector to reduce by 2.21% after the
11.17% expansion in 2008. Global recession was felt later in the country than in the EU. Local food
market is very dynamic, mostly because of the constant insufficiency of livestock and meat products.
Reduced production results in insufficiency of these products for processors, who compensate it with
increasing imports. Meanwhile the spectrum of the foods on the market is growing. Consumption habits
and lifestyle in Bulgaria also change. Food consumption rapidly increases on Christmas and Easter
holidays despite the fact that the traditional for other countries holiday discounts are not typical .
Leading chain stores perform severe price competition nationwide. Increasing food imports and
consumption create good opportunities for the US exporters.
Approximately 8 million international visitors come to Bulgaria annually. 50% are coming for holidays.
The most active tourist season is the summer. Tourist visits also increase the demand of food products.
On average, the number of tourists visiting the country each year increases by 5%. This generates
demand for the U.S. goods that are offered in their countries.
Young double-income families preferring to eat outside are growing in numbers, because they do not
have time on weekdays to buy fresh products and cook home-made meals. The establishments
providing cooked meals are also multiplying and diversifying ? restaurants, pizzerias, Chinese, Italian,
Greek restaurants etc. Usually at weekends, restaurants are full of customers. Many restaurants offer
special lunch menus during the working days. The restaurants providing a food delivery at home or at
the office are also increasing in numbers. Various fast food restaurants also receive good reception ?
sandwich shops, grill, doner kebab, pizza slice etc. Fast food restaurants like McDonalds, KFC and
Happy are very popular because of the persistent high quality of food but their market share is
considerably low due to the limited number of their outlets.
Organic Foods Sector
Currently, the trend for consuming healthy products and obtaining ?healthy? lifestyle is strengthening.
Organic foods are still not very popular in Bulgaria, but consumers crave more natural and
environmentally friendly products. Organic sector of the local food market is growing slowly because
of the limited purchasing power of the consumers.
. Sales of organic foods are not high, although their supply is growing. Their volume does not exceed
5% of sold groceries. The low volume of sales is due to their prices being several times higher than
those of other foods and the low purchasing power of the population. Also increasing is the number of
specialized shops selling organic foods.
There are many good conditions for growing organic food but due to weak demand production is not
great. Due to not high sales of organic foods, promotions are also limited. They are not advertised
directly, they are usually verbally presented in agricultural and culinary television shows.
IV. Best Consumer Oriented Product Prospects
Product 2009 5- Import Constraints Market
M 2008 à arket 2009 Yr.Avg. Tariff over Market Attractiveness for
e Development U.S.
(million Imports Impo Ratrt
USD) (million Growth
Grape 250 29$ ? 27$ 25% 78E ? 594E Bulgarian wines Bulgarian wine industry
Wines per 1 hl, still dominate the traditionally produces
depending red and white wine high quality wine. Due
on value market, and to the lack of wine
and alcohol knowledge about imports during the
content wines from others socialist period
+ 20% VAT country is generally consumer prefers
low. mainly local brands.
During the last few
years, the Bulgarian
market witnessed wine
imports, mainly from
Italy, France, Spain,
Chile, and USA.
Imported brands are not
yet very popular, due to
the low purchasing
power of the Bulgarian
there are several
wine brands, draught
wine comprises 80% of
wine imports. Most
consumers of mass-
production wine live in
the major cities, because
in Bulgaria the home-
made wine production is
allowed and practiced in
smaller cities and
villages. , People
consider the daily usage
of small amount of red
wine to be healthy. The
import of U.S. wines is
increasing for the last
years and the Bulgarian
becoming more aware
about its high quality
and diversified taste. ..
Cheese 604 27$ ? 32$ 25% 13?-103? The Bulgarian The Bulgarian cheese
per 100 kg cheese market is market is highly
varies by dominated by local specific. The most
type products. During popular product is the
+ 20% the last few years white cheese ? type of
VAT German, Polish, brine cheese. The
Dutch, Czech and consumption of yellow
French cheese cheese (with specific
products are local taste) also has a
imported and significant share. The
successfully placed semi-soft (spreadable)
on the Bulgarian cheese and the blue
market. cheese are also well
accepted. There are no
traditions in their
regarding the blue
cheese. The U.S. cheese
is unknown product on
the Bulgarian market.
The U.S. cheese
successfully enter in the
spreadable and blue
cheese segments. For
the last few years
imports of processed
yellow cheese mainly
for the restaurants had
Pork 724 $126 ? $172 19% 54E-103E The locally Insufficiency of local
produced pork is product is compensated
per 100 kg
+ 20% VAT insufficient for the mainly with import
varies by Bulgarian market from EU countries.
type, demand. The Major importers are
import import in the last Spain, Germany,
few years steadily Austria and France. The
preferential increases to American pork meat is
quota compensate the not well known product
80?-118E lack. for the Bulgarian
per 100 kg market. The
+ 20% VAT insufficiency provides
import various growth
under non opportunities for U.S.
preferential pork imports to meet
quota, local food producer
varies by needs.
Fresh 230 118$ ? 122$ 21% 6%-20% + Competition in U.S. fresh fruit are
Fru terms of new unknown on the it 20% VAT
varies by suppliers and new Bulgarian market.
type varieties from both Recently fresh fruit are
domestic and successfully imported
foreign producers is from South Africa and
intensifying, South America.
especially Effective marketing
expensive fruit strategies, aimed at
from European reliable quality and
countries issues competitive pricing, and
disrupt U.S. brands of U.S. fruits
shipments. undergone by U.S.
improve the market of
U.S. fruit in Bulgaria.
Poultry 324 75$ ? 87$ 42% 27E-102E The poultry The U.S. poultry is
per 100 kg production in known on the Bulgarian
+ 20% VAT Bulgaria steadily market. Currently there
varies by decreases, which is are restrictions on
type import compensated with import of U.S. poultry.
under non higher import ?
preferential mainly from the
quota European countries,
40?-182E but it must be noted
per 100 kg that Brazil had
+ 20% VAT achieved 12%
import market share.
Tree 120 n.a.$ ? n.a.$ n.a. 0% + 20% African countries, The American nuts are
Nuts VAT China and Middle known product on the
East countries are Bulgarian market. They
the main nuts should be more
importers in successfully placed in
Bulgaria. The Bulgaria, if the
African nuts are Bulgarian producers get
considered of lower acquainted with nuts?
quality, many times quality and prices.
Beef 660 286$ ? 317$ 20% 12.8% + The beef U.S. beef is known
production in product on the
per 100 kg) Bulgaria steadily Bulgarian market.
+ 20%VAT decreases. The Except from the EU,
varies by insufficiency is small amount of beef is
type compensated by imported from
increasing of the Argentina. If a flexible
beef imports from market policy is
the rest of the implemented, the U.S.
European countries. beef products can be
successfully placed on
the Bulgarian market.
Seafood 111 64$ ? 57$ 22% 0% to 20% The Bulgarian The high and increasing
+ 20% VAT market is supplied consumption of seafood
Varies by with various types in Bulgaria offers
type of fresh saltwater current best
and freshwater fish, opportunities for U.S.
as well as frozen exporters. Today the
sea and ocean fish. U.S. export supplies
The frozen fish is about 6% from the
well accepted by frozen fish import in
the consumers. Bulgaria. This share can
Recently the be easily increased,
consumption of because of the generally
other types of sea increasing sea food
food is also consumption in the
increasing. country. For achieving
this goal, the U.S.
Canada, the EU, Peru,
Argentina, Chile, China,
Vietnam and Thailand.
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria
V. Key Contacts and Further Information
American Institutions in Bulgaria
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
16 Kozyak Str., Sofia 1408, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-939-5774 Tel: Fax: (359) 2-939-5744
United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250
Bulgarian Central Authority Agencies
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Blvd. Hristo Botev 55 Sofia 1040 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-985-11858 Fax: (359) 2-981-7955
Ministry of Health
Sqr. Sveta Nedelya 5, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-981-0111
Direction Public Health
Tel: (359) 2-9301-252
National Veterinary Service
Bul. Pencho Slaveikov 15A, Sofia 1606, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-915-9820 Fax: (359) 2-954-9593
Bulgaria Customs Agency, Ministry of Finance
Str. Rakovski 47, Sofia 1202, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-9594-210 Tel: (359) 2-9859-4528
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://customs.bg
Ministry of Economy, Energy and tourism
Str. Slavyanska 8, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-940-71 Fax: (359) 2-987-2190
E-mail : email@example.com
Major Bulgarian Trade Associations
American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria
Business Park Sofia, bld. 2, fl. 6. Sofia 1766 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-9742 Fax: (359) 2-9742-741
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Str. Iskar 9, Sofia 1058 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-811-740 Fax: (359) 2-987-3209
Bulgarian Industrial Association
Str. Alabin 16-20, Sofia 1000 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-932-0911 Fax: (359) 2-987-2604
Association of Producers, Importers and Traders of Spirits
NDK Prono fl. 15 offices 8&9, Sofia 1414 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-963-1254 Fax: (359) 2-963-1254
Bulgarian Association of Dairy Producers
Zh.K. Lagera bl. 44 vh. A Sofia 1612 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-953-2723 Fax: (359) 2-952-3265
Association of Meat Producers in Bulgaria
Shipka Pass Blvd. 240 ent. A floor 3, Sofia Bulgaria
Address for correspondence pk 61 AMB Sofia 1111 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-971-2671 Fax: (359) 2-973-3069
Branch Chamber of Industrial Bread Producers and Confectioners in Bulgaria
Srebyrna Str. 22q Sofia 1407 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-969-8059 Fax: (359) 2-969-8061
Association of Fish Products Producers BG Fish
Vitosha Blvd. 31-33, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-981-7589 Fax: (359) 2-981-7589
Union of Bulgarian Millers
Pavlina Unufrieva Str. 4, Sofia 1510 Bulgaria
Tel: (359) 2-936-7925 Fax: (359) 2-813-2600
Appendix - Statistics
A. 2009-2010 Bulgaria Demographic Information
Total Population (thousands) 7,564 7,537
Population Increase Rate (%) -3.5 -2.9
Population Density (persons/km2) 68.1 67.9
Birth Rate (%) 10.7 11.0
Death Rate (%) 14.2 13.9
Labor Force (thousands) 3,492 3,478
Unemployment Rate (%) 10.2 9.2
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria
A. 2009-2010 Bulgaria Trade Information
GDP (million USD) 48,722 47,483
GDP per capita (USD) 6,423 6,289
Economic Growth Rate (%) - 4.95 +0.20
Exports (million USD) 16,266 20,542
Imports (million USD) 23,463 25,250
Agricultural Imports (million USD) 2,438 2,513
Foreign Exchange Rate (USD = NTD) 1 USD = 1.40670 BGN 1 USD = 1.48420 BGN
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria
B. 2009 Bulgaria Consumer Food and Edible Fishery Products Imports
Bulgarian World Imports U.S. Imports U.S. Market Share
Imports (million USD) (million USD) (%)
2006 2007 2008 2009 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200
6 7 8 9 6 7 8 9
Bulk 90 171 218 209 7 5 2 1 7,8 2,9 0,9 0,4
Corn 63 76 88 84 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 27 95 130 125 7 5 2 1 24,6 5,3 1,6 0,7
Consumer- 945 1,56 2,22 2,17 14 10 16 14 1,5 0,6 0,7 0,6
oriented 3 5 2
Dairy 32 66 124 98 0 0 0 0 0,1 0,1 0,1 0
Cheese 13 19 27 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Fresh Fruit 65 79 118 122 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Processed 59 106 112 134 1 1 2 1 2,4 0,9 2,5 1
Fresh 29 101 119 136 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Fruit & 14 21 29 31 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Breakfast 27 77 104 124 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Red Meats 184 153 286 317 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
Chill ed /
Red Meats 7 16 29 33 1 0 0 0 18,5 0 0 0
Poultry 29 46 75 87 4 0 0 0 12,9 0 0 0
Wine & 26 61 88 83 2 3 6 5 9,1 5,1 6,3 6,3
Pet Food 70 102 120 201 1 6 1 1 0,8 5,5 0,5 0,3
Other 390 716 994 774 1 0 0 7 0,3 0 0,7 0,9
Fish & 31 35 64 57 3 3 2 3 9,3 7,5 3,8 5,7
Fish, frozen 15 14 25 23 3 2 2 2 17,8 17,1 9,2 9,5
Other 16 21 39 34 0 0 0 1 0,1 0,9 0,4 3,2
AG 1,03 1,73 2,44 2,38 21 15 18 15 2,1 0,8 0,8 0,6
PRODUCT 5 4 3 1
AG, FISH 1.06 1,76 2,50 2,43 24 18 20 18 2,3 1 0,8 0,7
& 4 9 7 8
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria
C. 2009 Top 15 Suppliers of Consumer Foods to Bulgaria
Consumer-Oriented Agricultural Total (thousands USD)
# Country 2006 2007 2008 2009
-- WORLD TOTAL 1,034,653 1,734,196 2,443,198 2,380,637
1 Greece 96,156 204,281 310,019 283,558
2 Romania 55,197 160,943 265,402 260,861
3 Germany 65,076 134,595 213,373 216,368
4 Turkey 43,281 89,033 137,61 173,623
5 Brazil 250,493 97,755 133,422 165,381
6 Netherlands 52,963 143,552 196,369 164,237
7 Poland 47,014 101,332 136,799 124,096
8 Spain 21,797 43,902 83,515 103,142
9 Hungary 29,991 106,175 125,411 101,227
10 Italy 43,319 74,642 111,628 93,369
11 France 40,038 101,175 101,161 80,522
12 Austria 28,881 74,629 117,415 68,804
13 Serbia 4,591 10,258 21,313 46,505
14 Belgium 12,304 27,075 41,705 46,148
15 The Former Yugoslav Rep. Of Macedonia 11,669 47,472 33,406 44,011
24 USA 21.291 14,684 18,489 14,583
Fish and Seafood Products (thousands USD)
# Country 2006 2007 2008 2009
-- WORLD TOTAL 30,644 34,761 63,949 57,357
1 Spain 1,569 2,329 5,412 6,107
2 Greece 2,276 3,409 6,643 5,035
3 Vietnam 43 251 2,386 4,562
4 Netherlands 108 1.957 2,163 4,13
5 Canada 4,107 2,344 7,513 3,313
6 USA 2,852 2,619 2,454 3,269
7 Italy 1,74 4,631 3,855 3,251
8 Argentina 1,499 1,47 2,347 2,619
9 Turkey 47 253 2,009 2,334
10 Romania 57 308 370 1,978
11 Denmark 695 1,273 2,739 1,954
12 Lithuania 394 717 1,386 1,871
13 China 2,268 1,413 2,623 1,735
14 Norvegia 2,465 238 883 1,555
15 UK 72 242 426 1,470
Source: National Statistical Institute Bulgaria