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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » September 2, 2011
Polska… tastes good!
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Polish Candy Successful Abroad
September 2, 2011   
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Polish confectioners have nothing to complain about as far as economic trends are concerned. Candy production is regarded as one of the fastest growing segments of Poland’s food industry and Polish candy is highly popular both at home and abroad.

The Polish market for candy is worth an estimated zl.8.5 billion and exports account for zl.2.5 billion of that. Poland ships its confectionery products to over 60 countries around the world. While a large part of the exports go to other EU member states, Polish candy is also available on the markets in Russia, Arab countries and the United States. Annual exports to non-EU countries have exceeded 100,000 metric tons.

As they devise expansion strategies to enter foreign markets, producers need to meet consumers’ expectations and adapt their products to local markets. Such is the key to successful sales and in order to be competitive on global markets, products made in Poland need to conform with a number of norms and certificates required on foreign markets.

Consumers in Poland eat far less candy compared with their counterparts in other EU member states and so sales figure can certainly improve. Data from the Polbisco Association of Polish Chocolate and Candy Producers, Polish citizens eat an average of 1.2 kilograms of chocolate a year, compared with 11 kilograms for Switzerland, 10 kg in Germany and Belgium, and 7 kg in Britain and France.

Consumption of cookies in Poland does not look much better, at 3 kg per capita a year, whereas in Ireland the figure is 15 kg and 11 kg in Britain.

Poland differs from Western Europe in terms of candy consumption not only because Poles eat significantly less confectionery products, but also because they are more conservative and are somewhat reserved about innovations such as candy with added vitamins, wholegrains and so on. This state of affairs is changing gradually, especially among young and affluent consumers who are more open-minded and willing to experiment.

As the purchasing power of Polish citizens increased owing to a booming economy and growing salaries, candy producers expanded their product range. Improving finances boosted demand for premium candy, such as pralines, truffles and assorted chocolates. People in Poland are increasingly keen to try sweet products with sophisticated flavors and sold in elegant packaging. The growing popularity of healthy lifestyles has, in turn, stimulated the market for bitter chocolate, premium brands in particular. This kind of chocolate contains up to 80 percent of cocoa and frequently comes with additions such as almonds and orange zest.

Traditional Polish cuisine is founded on salty flavors. Sweet touches are mainly associated with breakfast and include yogurt, cereals, jam and honey. Then, there is the usually sweet dessert served after lunch. However, since growing numbers of Polish families lack the time to prepare and have a traditional, multi-course lunch, many compensate for that by are grabbing a sweet bite between the main, “salty” meals.

Chocolate-based candy accounts for three-quarters of Poland’s entire market for confectionery products. Interestingly, chocolate proper does not hold the top spot in this department, as in terms of sales it comes in third after candy bars and pralines.

Another major group of confectionery products on Poland’s candy market are baked goods, including gingerbread, cookies, sponge cakes and wafers. This wide variety will caters to all fans of sweet snacks.

Confectionery products available in stores include ones bearing the Try Fine Food (Poznaj Dobrą Żywność) quality label. This prestigious label has been awarded to 10 products manufactured by the “Solidarność—rok założenia 1952” candy factory from Lublin, including chocolate bonbons and chocolate-covered plums and cherries. The label is also printed on the packaging of sponge cookies made by the Mamut company in Wrocław, and the Złoty Kłos Bakery in Dobrzyce has obtained the label for its butter and meringue cookies. The Odra candy company in Brzeg has obtained the Try Fine Food label for different variations of halvah, and the A. Blikle company for its piernik herbaciany (Tea Gingerbread).

The agriculture ministry’s Try Fine Food program, launched in 2004, aims to provide consumers with trustworthy information to ensure them that food they are purchasing meets strict quality requirements verified by independent food inspection authorities and organizations. The Try Fine Food quality mark is granted to products which are well-established on the market, easily recognizable by consumers and have been produced and marketed for no less than a year.
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