Exporter Guide

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Croatia

Posted on: 13 Nov 2011

Croatia imports a significant portion of the food it consumes. Slow but continued economic reforms as a result of the EU accession process and growing tourism potentially make Croatia a significant, long-term importer of certain U.S. food products, including seafood, snack foods, pet food, wine, tree nuts, and rice.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution 9/27/2011 Date: GAIN Report Number: HR1115 Croatia Exporter Guide Annual Approved By: Prepared By: Andreja Misir Report Highlights: Croatia imports a significant portion of the food it consumes. Slow but continued economic reforms as a result of the EU accession process and growing tourism potentially make Croatia a significant, long-term importer of certain U.S. food products, including seafood, snack foods, pet food, wine, tree nuts, and rice. Nevertheless, Croatia has not been immune to the global economic crisis and at this time still faces significant challenges with no real signs of improvement. Croatian consumers are strongly anti- biotech.   Post: Zagreb Author Defined: I Market Overview Economic Situation On October 3, 2005, Croatia began negotiations for accession into the European Union (EU). Since then the government has made significant progress and today is close to an EU member. Thus EU regulations have become the norm. In addition, Croatia is a NATO member, which provides a security framework for its improving economic and social prospects. Croatia is also a member of the WTO and has trade agreements with EU-27, EFTA, Turkey, and CEFTA 2006. Croatia has progressed considerably in creating a market economy and establishing macroeconomic stability. With the Kuna closely tied to the Euro, Croatia enjoys a stable currency. Unemployment appears to have peaked in 2000/2001 and positive trends (more employment in private sector firms) began in 2002 and continued until 2008. However, Croatia has not been immune to the global economic crisis thus employment statistics for 2010 and 2011 show downward. In 2010, GDP growth was -1.2 percent which is an ?upwards trend? compared to -6 percent in 2009. This year?s GDP growth is estimated at 0.8%. Croatia's external trade imbalances and high foreign debt present risks because continued access to foreign credit may be limited. Demographic Developments and Their Impact on Consumer Buying Habits Croatia?s population is about 4.4 million and is slowly decreasing. The age distribution, based on 2009 estimates, is as follows: 0 to 14 years/15.28 percent; 15 to 64 years/67.45 percent; 65 and over/17.26%. The purchasing power of average Croatian citizen is about ?4,808, which is about 34% of the EU average according to the ?2010/11 Gfk Market Study. [Note: Purchasing power is a measure of per capita disposable income (including any received state benefits) after the deduction of taxes. The study indicates per person per year purchasing power levels in Euros. GfK purchasing power figures have not been adjusted for inflation. The study draws on statistics on income and tax levels, government benefits and forecasts by economic institutes. The GfK purchasing power study does not take into account regional cost-of-living variations or recurring monthly deductions from disposable income such as rent, mortgage payments and contributions to private retirement funds and insurance policies.] The number of elderly and retired persons is rising, but they tend to have small pensions and are not the economic force they are in some countries. Food Expenditures In 2009, total consumption of goods per household was $14,428 (HRK 76,188). Of that total consumption, 32% was total food and beverage consumption per household. In addition, alcoholic beverages and tobacco amounted to 3.6% out of total household consumption. Size and Growth of the Consumer Foods Market General In 2009, trade (including total wholesale and total retail sales and VAT) amounted to HRK 252 billion ($47.7 billion), which is about 16% drop compared with 2008 and shows impact of economic crisis on Croatian inner trade. In 2010, Croatia imported agricultural, fish and forestry products valued at $2.4 billion and exported $1.8 billion worth of these goods, which puts the agricultural trade deficit at $0.6 billion. In the past few years, Croatia?s agricultural imports grew as did the county?s trade deficit. However in 2009 and 2010 imports and exports are dropping in such a way that deficit is reducing. This is all due to global economic crisis and slowing down of trade. There is little specific data on sales of food products by class or type. Consumer foods Croatia?s total imports of consumer foods have steadily grown during last years. Even with a slight drop compared with 2008, consumer foods imports in 2010 reached $1.4 billion. In the last few years, a flourishing tourism along the Dalmatian coast and rebounding consumer demand in urban areas are fueling demand for consumer foods, which is underlined by the increasing number of supermarkets. Trade statistics on U.S. exports of consumer foods to Croatia are severely understated due to transshipment via the EU. Demand for medium to high quality consumer foods will continue to rise and should be a boon for U.S. companies, provided they can overcome less than competitive high ocean freight rates into the Adriatic Sea from U.S. ports. Nevertheless, U.S. companies can take advantage of the weak dollar. Beverages Fruit and vegetable juice imports in 2010 were $16.4 million, down about 11% compared to 2009 due to global economic crisis and slowing of trade. Downwards trend was already visible in 2009. In 2009, annual average consumption per household member was: Coffee 3.4 kg, Tea 0.3 kg, Cocoa 0.4 kg, Mineral water 29 kg, Soft drinks 12.3 kg, Fruit juices 16 kg, Syrups for preparation of beverages 3.9 l, Spirits 0.8 l, Wine 9.2 l, Sparkling wine 0.0 l, Beer 18.2 l, Food service (restaurants) According to the Croatian Statistical Institute, hotels and restaurants sales for foods and beverages totaled HRK 3.35 billion ($634 million) in 2009. Seafood Although Croatia is a net-exporter of fish and seafood with bred tuna being the most important export item, Croatia imports a significant quantity of fish and seafood as well. From 2008 Croatia?s seafood imports declined from $138 million to just above $100 million in 2009 and 2010 due to the global financial crisis, but Croatia is expected to import over $100 million in fish and seafood annually for the foreseeable future. Promising areas for U.S. exporters include fish feed for tuna production, fish for the local fish processing industry, sardines, and mackerel. In 2009 the annual average consumption of fish (fresh and salt water) and seafood per household member was 8.7 kg. The demand for fresh-water fish and seafood is expected to increase with modern changes in nutritional habits and increased demand from tourism. The small blue fish is the most consumed fish on the national market, but due to changing nutritional habits and consumer demand, salted fish production has significantly increased, including anchovies, frozen fish, smoked fish (smoked sea bass, eel, and freshwater fish), fish pâté, marinated fish, and others. Advantages and Challenges of U.S. Suppliers in the Croatian Market Advantages Challenges Growth in tourism Negative attitude towards foods containing or made from biotech products Urban population growth Reservations towards products with chemical food additives Certain fruits, vegetables, dried fruits and rice U.S. food products are at a tariff are not produced domestically disadvantage compared to goods from the countries with which Croatia has bilateral agreements (EU-27, EFTA, Turkey and CEFTA 2006) Shortages of some agricultural products like High shipping costs beef, pork, soybean meal, and certain types of seafood Most importers speak English Lack of awareness of U.S. goods; no concept of U.S. quality by consumers The government adopting restrictive EU Phytosanitary regulations EU accession EU accession II. Exporter Business Tips Local Business Customs Food retailers buy domestic and imported products from wholesalers. The wholesale sector is completely privatized. Restructuring of the retail segment also occurred as retail chains were privatized during 1990s and acquired by larger groups and new private retailers emerged on the market. The retail sector is dominated by foreign supermarket chains such as Billa, Kaufland, DM, Ipercoop, Lidl, Mercator, Metro, and Interspar; and domestic supermarket chains consist of chains such as Konzum, Plodine, NTL (Diona, Kerum, and Getro). Large supermarket chains have their own purchasing sections that buy, store, and distribute foodstuffs centrally. These purchasing units also import products. In addition, they also purchase some items through specialty wholesale importers. Moreover, some chains cooperate in purchase logistics with other chains to get better purchase price from their suppliers. General Consumer Tastes and Preferences ?Gfk?, market research agency carried out a survey in October, 2009 in Croatia on ?(non)recognition of healthy food? and among other things researched opinion, potential purchase, recognition of GMO food, organic food, functional food and compared results with the similar surveys they conducted in 2005 and 2008. The following are some of their findings: GMO food ? Croatians are becoming less skeptical towards GMO food. The percentage of citizens that refuse to buy GMO products decreased from 67% in 2005 to 51% in 2009. However, in 2009 study, only 6% of citizens would unconditionally buy GMO products, which is a decrease from 8% in 2005. Percentage of citizens that do not care about GMOs raised from 9% in 2005 to 14% in 2009. In addition, in 2009 study, 29% of respondents thought that they didn?t know enough about GM foodstuffs, while in 2005 only 16% thought that. The study also showed that 90% of respondents think that GMO foodstuff must be clearly labeled on the store shelf. Functional food - Research from 2009 showed that 57% of respondents have heard of functional foodstuff like omega-3 margarine and LGG yogurt, which is about the same like in the last year?s ?Gfk? survey. Organic food ? Most Croatians have heard of organic products. About half of the respondents said that they are able to distinguish organics in shops. In 72% of cases respondents said that they recognize organics by recognizing logo of ?Croatian Eco Product? or by seeing label with statement ?healthy product?. Only 4% of respondents buy organics regularly, 5% buy organics often, 24% buy organics from time to time, 23% rarely buy organics and 43% do not buy organics. Compared with a similar research from last year it can be seen that percentage of buyers of organics decreased, which can be attributed to 2009 economic downturn. However in the long term it is expected that this market segment will grow when economic situation becomes better in Croatia. Another, interesting research that ?Gfk? agency did in Croatia, in March, 2010 was on the topic of ?how do we eat?. The following are research results: For food preparation Croatians use sunflower oil (84%), olive oil (51%), lard (41%), butter (31%) and margarine (26%). Most of the respondents (90%) eat all types of meat. White bread is everyday food for 50% of respondents, dark bread is consumed by 30% of respondents and integral bread is consumed by 19% of respondents. More than half of the respondents consume cakes and sweet cookies daily and weekly. Chocolate is also consumed by 60% of respondents daily and weekly. Coffee is consumed daily by 80% of respondents, 54% consume milk daily, 33% consume plain yogurt daily and cheese is daily consumed by 30% of respondents. Croatians prefer good quality and good taste of food (each about 95%). Immediately after quality and taste Croatians prefer low prices, domestic origin, no artificial coloring, no artificial flavorings - (each about 65%). Then follow no preservatives and no low fat products - (each about 56%). Half of the respondents stated the importance of the known producer and organic origin. Two least important characteristic are foreign producer (11%) and attractive packaging (24%). Some changes are noticed in the consumer habits thus it is eaten more fruits and vegetables, less fatty food, less ?fast food?, and more fluids. Recent research done by Croatian Food Agency revealed that large number of Croatians think that domestic food is safer than imported food and that food was generally safer 10 years ago. Moreover, that research showed that Croatians mostly worry about pesticide residues in food, food quality and freshness, GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones. Due to economic downturn, Croatians increasingly purchase supermarkets? private label products. Food Standards and Regulations See FAIRS Country Report 2011 for information on standards and regulations and Export Certificate Report 2011 for information on export certificates. General Import and Inspection Procedures Incoming goods must go through customs storage at transport terminals or airports. After the goods arrive at the customs storage, the importer or freight forwarder should start procedures for checking and clearing goods, which includes special documents that should be sent to the Inspection Departments and the Customs Office. The procedure starts at the Sanitary Inspection Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, which checks all products (except meat, which is checked by Veterinary Inspection Department from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Rural Development). From time to time samples are taken for food safety testing. In addition, products are inspected for quality. Products that can be made from biotech products are also sampled and sent to the laboratory for testing (see Agricultural Biotechnology Report 2011). The importer must pay for product inspections. If products are of suspicious quality and/or health standards their sales will be banned until analyses is conducted. Customs clearance and removal from storage is carried out under the supervision of a customs officer who compares the documents with the commodities after they were checked by sanitary or veterinary inspector for quality, ingredients and health standards. Customs rates can be found at: http://www.carina.hr (This web site is only in Croatian. For clarification, contact your Croatian partner or one of freight forwarding companies to determine the proper rates.) Customs import documents should be in Croatian or bilingual English/Croatian. Average length of customs clearance for food products, if all documents are in order, is one day. III. Market Sector Structure and Trends Retail Sector Key to High Value Imports The internationalization of the Croatian retail food trade started in 1997, with the opening of the supermarket chain (Drogerie Markt). In the past years, supermarkets have developed rapidly in Croatia, leaving the traditional retail system for food far behind. In 2010, the share of 10 leading supermarkets in overall food/beverages/household goods retailing reached 77 percent according to Croatian Competition Agency. Thus, currently most consumers shop at supermarkets and imports are being increasingly distributed through large supermarkets. Croatia?s total imports of consumer foods in 2010 were $1.4 billion. Promotion and Marketing Strategies A media campaign is considered necessary for the success of any new food product. In that respect, advertising is a very important marketing tool in Croatia. Businesses use all available media like internet, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines and TV, although television is the food industry?s favorite media. Supermarkets also use direct marketing by mostly mailing flyers. Consumer participation contests on TV and radio are also very common. Tourism Sales Tourism, although highly seasonal, is an important economic activity in Croatia. Each year about 9 million foreign tourists visit Croatia (compared to Croatia?s population of 4 million). The majority of visitors come from Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia, UK and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tourists from countries outside of Europe are mostly from America and recently from Japan. Tourist infrastructure is satisfactory but still developing, particularly in the main tourist destinations. Internet Sales Most of the Internet shopping in Croatia involves travel services, IT equipment, books, and electrical appliances. Despite this, there are a few companies providing online sales of retail food products. While the retail online transactions in Croatia still represent small percent of total retail trade in the country, e-commerce in Croatia is considered to be a common occurrence. IV Best High Value Product Prospects The consumer food/edible fishery products that offer the best U.S. export opportunities are as follows: Product Market 2010 5-Yr. Import Key Market Category Size Imports Avg. Tariff Rate Constraints of Attractiveness Annual 2011 Market for USA Import Development Growth in value (2005- 2010) Snack n/a $158million See at: Strict biotech Growing Foods (40,030 MT) 10.22% www.carina.hr legislation and market. competition from E.U. and Croatian franchisees. Pork n/a $128million See at: Only Croatian meat (43,200 MT) 3.07% www.carina.hrcompanies that processors are are registered importing exporters of significant pork for the EU quantities of market can pork because of access Croatian volatile market. situation on the market due to Competition cyclic pig from EU production companies dependent on because of the price of geographical feed. In closeness. addition, sometimes there is a market shortage of products of certain quality standards. Fish & n/a $103million See at: Competition Demand and Sea Food (41,209 MT) 1.25% www.carina.hr from some E.U. consumption (products) seafood should pick up exporting again and grow countries. along with tourism for the next several years. Pet Food n/a $48million See at: Competition Croatia doesn?t (Dog & (38,987 MT) 10.82% www.carina.hr from European have pet food. Cat Food- companies and Production and retail) U.S. usage of these franchisees in products is European expected to Union. grow with increase in standard of living. Beef n/a $30.45million See at: Croatian Croatia has a (8,591 MT) 5.56% www.carina.hr legislation shortage. transposes EU legislation Wine n/a $21million See at: High Consumption of (14,809,654 6.45% www.carina.hr transportation quality wines is Liters) cost. expected to grow with standard of living. Tree Nuts n/a $16.37million See at: Quality Croatia does (2,624 MT) 2.39% www.carina.hrstandards must not produce meet EU sufficient standards. quantities. In addition grading and quantity of domestic production is insufficient. Rice n/a $10.53million See at: Transshipments Croatia has no (10,591 MT) 8.70% www.carina.hr from Europe. domestic production. V. Key Contacts and Further Information Andreja Misir Agricultural Specialist American Embassy Agricultural Section Thomas Jefferson 2 10010 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 661 2467 fax. 011 385 1 665 8950 mob. 011 385 91 4552365 e-mail: andreja.misir@usda.gov http://www.fas.usda.gov American Embassy Commercial Section Thomas Jefferson 2 10010 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 661 2224 fax. 011 385 1 661 2446 e-mail: zagreb.office.box@mail.doc.gov web page: http://www.buyusa.gov/croatia/en/ Central Bureau of Statistics Republic of Croatia Ilica 3 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 4806154 fax. 011 385 1 4806148 e-mail stat.info@dzs.hr web page: www.dzs.hr Croatian Chamber of Economy (Commerce) Central office Roseveltov trg 2 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 4561555 fax. 011 385 1 4828380 e-mail: hgk.@hgk.hr web page: www.hgk.hr Croatian Chamber of Economy (Commerce) Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry Department Roseveltov trg 2 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 4826066 fax 011 385 1 4561545 e-mail: poljoprivreda@hgk.hr web page: www.hgk.hr Croatian Chamber of Economy (Commerce) Tourism Department Roseveltov trg 2 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 4561570 fax. 011 385 1 4828499 e-mail: turizam@hgk.hr web page: www.hgk.hr Croatian Chamber of Economy (Commerce) Trade Department Roseveltov trg 2 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 4561624 fax. 011 385 1 4828499 e-mail: trgovina@hgk.hr web page: www.hgk.hr Government of Republic of Croatia Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Rural Development Grada Vukovara 78 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 6106111 fax. 011 385 1 6109201 e-mail: office@mps.hr web page: www.mps.hr Government of Republic of Croatia Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship Grada Vukovara 78 10000 Zagreb tel. 011 385 1 6106111 e-mail: info@mingorp.hr, webpage:www.mingo.hr APPENDIX I - STATISTICS TABLE A: KEY TRADE & DEMOGRAPHIC YEAR VALUE INFORMATION Ag Imports From All Countries* ($Mil)/US Share % 2010 2,042 / 1.29 %** Consumer Food Imports From All Countries 2010 1,374 / 1.63%** ($Mil.) / US Share % Edible Fish Imports From All Countries ($Mil) / US 2010 103 / 2.51%** Share % Total Population (Millions) / Annual Growth Rate 2011/2010 4,429*** / -2**** per 1000 Urban population (Millions) / Annual Growth rate 2010 n.a. (%) Number of Major Metropolitan Areas 2010 - Size of the Middle Class (Millions) / Growth Rate 2010 n.a. (%) Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (US dollars) 2010 $13,792 (estimate) Unemployment Rate ILO (%) 2010 11.8% Per HOUSEHOLD Food Expenditures (US Dollars) 2009 $ 4,626 Percent of Female Population Employed 2010 35.2%***** Exchange Rate (US$1 = X.X local currency) 2010 $1=HRK 5.5 * BICO grouping ** Source: Global Trade Atlas *** Preliminary data from 2011 census **** 2010 estimate ***** Labor Force Survey, third quarter of 2010 TABLE B. IMPORTS OF AGRICULTURE, FISH & FORESTRY PRODUCTS Croatia Imports (In Millions of Dollars) Imports from the World Imports from the U.S. U.S Market Share 2002 2003 2004 2002 2003 2004 2002 2003 2004 CONSUMER-ORIENTED AGRICULTURAL 580 748 883 10 13 16 2% 2% 2% TOTAL Snack Foods (Excl. Nuts) 60 76 90 1 1 1 0.91% 0.21% 0.53% Breakfast Cereals & Pancake Mix 5 8 11 1 1 1 0.27% 0.13% 0.06% Red Meats, Fresh/Chilled/Frozen 47 55 88 0 0 0 0% 0% 0% Red Meats, Prepared/Preserved 22 27 32 1 0 1 0.33% 0% 0.15% Poultry Meat 3 3 6 0 0 0 0% 0% 0% Dairy Products (Excl. Cheese) 36 37 46 1 0 0 0.06% 0% 0% Cheese 25 36 45 0 0 0 0% 0% 0% Eggs & Products 4 5 5 1 1 1 4% 0.02% 0.08% Fresh Fruit 64 83 90 1 1 1 0.00% 0.00% 0.04% Fresh Vegetables 21 45 45 1 1 1 0.02% 0.30% 0.12% Processed Fruit & Vegetables 59 76 85 1 1 1 0.88% 0.56% 0.67% Fruit & Vegetable Juices 11 14 15 1 1 1 0.07% 4% 7% Tree Nuts 7 8 11 1 2 3 15% 20% 22% Wine & Beer 21 31 36 1 1 1 0.15% 0.19% 0.13% Nursery Products & Cut Flowers 18 24 29 1 1 1 0.04% 0.05% 0.30% Pet Foods (Dog & Cat Food) 18 21 24 1 1 1 3% 3% 3% Other Consumer-Oriented Products 162 200 223 7 9 10 5% 5% 5% FISH & SEAFOOD PRODUCTS 76 82 70 1 2 2 1% 2% 2% Salmon 1 1 1 1 0 1 2% 0% 2% Surimi 1 1 1 1 0 0 2% 0% 0% Crustaceans 4 4 4 1 1 1 0.16% 0.46% 2% Groundfish & Flatfish 8 8 10 1 0 1 0.23% 0% 0.08% Molluscs 10 15 19 1 1 2 9% 6% 9% Other Fishery Products 53 54 35 1 1 1 0.27% 1% 0.04% AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS TOTAL 955 1,181 1,373 22 21 27 2% 2% 2% AGRICULTURAL, FISH & FORESTRY TOTAL 1,183 1,475 1,686 24 23 29 2% 2% 2% NA - Data not available (not reported) Data: Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HS 6 Digit) Source: FAS' Global Agricultural Trade System using data from the United Nations Statistical Office TABLE C. TOP 15 SUPPLIERS OF CONSUMER FOODS & EDIBLE FISHERY PRODUCTS CONSUMER-ORIENTED AGRICULTURAL IMPORTS Croatia - Top 15 Import Suppliers 2008 2009 2010 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 Germany 226,520 217,973 229,427 Italy 224,670 198,925 195,288 Netherlands 117,911 112,782 111,236 Bosnia & Herzegovina 77,987 82,122 85,473 Austria 103,165 84,912 78,346 Poland 77,042 69,641 75,011 Hungary 77,916 71,152 67,300 Slovenia 79,294 57,395 52,509 Spain 56,182 59,362 44,175 Macedonia 38,961 38,178 37,272 Ecuador 36,972 34,518 34,120 Brazil 36,399 29,370 31,397 Serbia 33,494 35,547 29,853 France 31,250 26,789 28,622 Belgium 29,761 25,295 27,208 16.United States 22,265 19,971 22,402 Other 276,931 231,336 223,990 World 1,546,720 1,395,268 1,373,629 Source: Global Trade Atlas FISH & SEAFOOD PRODUCTS IMPORTS Import Croatia ? Top 15 Suppliers 2008 2009 2010 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 Spain 18,312 16,354 15,963 Italy 11,212 8,072 9,280 Falkland Islands 9,749 6,421 6,189 Norway 6,695 5,472 6,109 Thailand 7,733 5,211 5,870 Sweden 11,556 12,542 5,664 Argentina 7,082 3,816 4,317 Bosnia & Herzegovina 3,996 2,939 4,141 United Kingdom 4,411 3,165 3,850 Estonia 1,118 1,550 3,436 France 6,930 3,846 3,377 Vietnam 2,580 2,602 3,128 China 3,301 2,272 2,803 Iceland 2,587 2,355 2,621 United States 4,136 1,812 2,585 Other 37,054 23,780 23,792 World 138,452 102,209 103,125 Source: Global Trade Atlas          
Posted: 13 November 2011

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