8 kg – this is how much sweets an average Pole consumes within a year. More than €2 billion – this is the value of the Polish confectionery market. Almost half of this value is export. Even now, Polish sweets are exported to more than 60 countries worldwide.
The value of exports is approximately €1 billion per year, which is more than PLN4 billion. As many as 70% of exports are sweets exported to the European Union countries - mainly to Germany and to the UK. Companies, more and more often, choose to expand their export markets to include exotic markets, such as Australia.
Strong Competition is a Motivator
But how does the sweets market look like in Poland? This is a fragmented and difficult market. We have many manufacturers, so there is growing competition. Over the recent years, there have been constant changes - larger companies take over the famous brands and invest in factories, because the competition is very strong, and the market is continuously growing. With such a huge product range, customers become very demanding and expect high quality at a good price. Standards are set high, but the competition, if interpreted in a positive way, is a motivation to action and continuous improvement. On the one hand, the industry is consolidating because by joining forces, small producers may be rescued, but on the other hand, many companies are trying to compete alone, watching market demand carefully and responding to it.
The Polish sweets market comprises the following segments - chocolate products, cookies and wafers as well as candies and lollipops. Chocolate products are the most popular sweets among Polish consumers. Impulse products - candy bars and wafers are the biggest chocolate category. Bars of chocolate remain the second largest chocolate category. The Poles also enjoy cookies and wafers - in the past year this product group grew most rapidly. Within this product group, impulse wafers without chocolate, round biscuits with chocolate cream filling and biscuits were the best growing segments. On the other hand, candies and lollipops noted a decline whereas, in contrast, jellies experienced a surge.
According to the survey made by TGI Millward Brown SMG/KRC, in the period October 2012 - September 2013, 81.2% of Poles declared that they consume chocolate bars. Among the most commonly consumed chocolate brands, the first place with a score of 37.14% was taken by Wedel. The second place was taken by Milka (22.26%), the third place by Alpen Gold (21, 26%), the fourth by Wawel (10.53%). Further brands specified by respondents are Goplana, Nussbeiser, Terravita, Kinder Chocolate, Nestle, Lindt, Côte d'Or, Baron, Ritter Sport, Mauxion and Toblerone.
56.5% of respondents declared consuming wafers covered with chocolate. Grześki received most, i.e. 33.17% of the votes. The second place in this category was taken by Prince Polo wafers (28.51%); the third place was taken by Princessa (19.45%). Further places were taken by Góralki with a score of 12.29%, Kinder Bueno, Knoppers, Kit-Kat, and other brands.
64.6% of Poles declared consuming pre-packed cookies. From among the most frequently consumed brands, respondents mention Delicje Szampańskie – LU (18.42%) , Wafle Familijne - Jutrzenka (11.8%), Jeżyki - Jutrzenka (8.97%), Pieguski (7.97%), biscuits with jelly covered with chocolate - Wedel (6.74%), Pierniczki Alpejskie - Wedel (6.78%). Further places, with results below 5%, were taken by, among others, Łakotki – SAN, Toruńskie Pierniczki – Kopernik, Pryncypałki - Dr. Gerard, Kokosowe – Krakuski, Petitki – LU, Deserowe – Krakuski, Gingerbread covered with chocolate – Bahlsen.
58.9% of Poles interviewed declared consuming candy bars. Snickers bar, with a score of 25.6%, is the leader. Mars scored 13.04% of the votes, Pawełek scored 12.19%, Twix scored 11.19% , Lion scored 10.88%, 3 Bit scored 10%. From among the bars, respondents selected Bounty, Milky Way, Bajeczny, Kinder Mleczna Kanapka, Danusia, Maciek, and other brands.
Pre-packed chocolate products (assorted, boxes of chocolates) were bought by a little more than 50% of Polish respondents. Ptasie Mleczko - Wedel is mentioned as among the most often purchased brand, 27.44% . Further positions were taken by Mieszanka Wedlowska , Raffaello - Ferrero, Toffifee, Merci, Alpejskie Mleczko - Milka, Kinder Surprise - A chocolate egg with a surprise - Ferrero, Michałki zamkowe - Wawel, Krakow blend - Wawel, Michałki of Hanka, Michaszki - Mieszko, Plums covered with chocolate – Goplana, and other brands.
Both Polish and foreign consumers appreciate Polish tradition as part of these sweets. High quality production, modern factories and a wide range of typically Polish products are assets of this sector. In recent years, despite the crisis, Poles do not save on sweets. At the same time, manufacturers are alluring cosumers with even better traditional flavours, as well as new products that are quickly welcomed by Polish sweet lovers.
Sweets with a tradition
Sweets have been humans' beloved treat for already four thousand years. The first pleasures came from nuts and fruit dipped in honey. In the times before humans invented sugar, their dolce vita was provided by honey or Carob tree beans (St John’s bread). People in India loved bananas cooked in milk. And what is the history of the confectionery industry in Poland? Here are the most important dates and selected confectionery manufacturers in Poland.
In 1851 Karol Wedel founded his first factory in Warsaw on Miodowa Street. Wedel's products immediately won the hearts of the inhabitants of Warsaw. In 1862, Karol handed over the factory to his son Emil, who with his bold investments expanded the family business. He expanded the range and coverage of the sales of Wedel delicacies, and also opened a retail chain of company shops. In 1934 the company was passed on to Emil’s son - Jan Wedel, who built a new factory in Warsaw's Praga District. Two years later, Wedel sweets were known outside the country, for example in Paris, London, and even North America, and Japan. In 1936 the world famous Wedel Chocolate Covered Marshmallows (Ptasie Mleczko) was created. Since 1999 the company has been within the structural organisation of the global confectionery company Cadbury. Since 2010, Wedel has been part of The LOTTE Group - one of the strongest global sweets companies. It is also worth noting that some of the recipes used by Karol Wedel are still used to create chocolate.
Wawel SA is one of the most renowned chocolatier companies on the territory of Poland. The company prides its traditions which reach back to the beginnings the 20th century. Year 1910 witnessed the establishment of the Factory of Sugars and Chocolate founded by Adam Piasecki. In the post World War II era as the result of the merger of factories of A. Piasecki and Suchard&Pischinger, Wawel gained additional experience in the manufacturing of chocolate as well as support in the form of heritage of great confectioners. In 1998 the company had its debut at the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In 2006 the company of Wawel, in the city of Dobczyce near Kraków, completed an investment aimed at the construction of a modern factory equipped with technological lines featuring latest achievements of manufacturing technologies within the field of its operation which meets the requirements imposed by all applicable quality standards. Apart from sweets manufactured based upon the provisions of traditional recipes Wawel continues to broaden its commercial offer with new products.
The highest quality of its products Wawel owes to its classic recipes encompassed with the careful protection of company confidentiality as well as to the carefully selected ingredients and high quality of resources. The modern manufacturing plant undergoes scrupulous control and verification procedures. The company of Wawel observes rigorist standards applicable within the food industry. The guarantor of the aforementioned quality is constituted by unquestionable certificates such as for instance ISO 9001:2008, BRC, IFS or HACCP. Wawel runs 16 company brand stores all over Poland. The exceptional Wawel store with hot chocolate parlour and a summer garden is also located within the unique location of the square of the Royal Castle at the Wawel Hill. What is interesting the stores are located in central locations of large cities such as for instance Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw or the Main Square in Cracow.
Following the careful analysis of the social situation in 2008 Wawel decided to bring to life a Foundation under the name of Wawel for Families. The foundation executes activity of public benefit character within the scope of helping families and children, who found themselves in a difficult situation. Foundation mission is to enable equal starto the future therefore what was established was the programme aimed at the levelling of chances and helping children from foster homes as well as replacement families.
ZPC Mieszko S.A. [Mieszko Confectionery Plant JSC], the start-up of the company, more than half a century ago, is a continuation of the confectionery industry tradition of Slazak and Raciborzanka confectionery plants. Since its inception, the company specializes in manufacturing chocolate products and caramel candies, while the acquisition of Spoldzielnia Walter [Walter Cooperative] in 2000 enabled the company to extend their offer with pastry products. The base of the company was extended with a manufacturing facility in Warsaw. Year 2011 was a breakthrough year for the company, when Mieszko finalized the acquisition of the Lithuanian company TB Investica, becoming the owner of Vilniaus Pergale. In July 2011 the company, already as Mieszko Group, signed an agreement to purchase the Lider Artur company, enabling entry into a new market category comprising of, among others, shortbread, sandwich cookies, gingerbread, or crackers. Continuous improvement of the quality management system applied in accordance with international standards is a guarantee of the quality policy. These activities aim at continuously increasing customer satisfaction with Mieszko products. The best-known Mieszko brands include: Zozole, Gumini, Amoretta, Chocoladorro, Cherrissimo, Amadoro, La Stella.
The beginnings of today's Colian Group dates back to 1918, when fabryka Cukrow i Czekolady Lukullus [The Lucullus Sugar and Chocolate Factory] was established. In the twenties, the company already owned a retail chain of company shops in Pomerania. In 1922 the Tysler Brothers’ Factory was established. Factories that were devastated during the war were taken over by the state in 1945, and the plant at Warminski Street in Bydgoszcz, Poland, adopted the name Jutrzenka [Aurora] that functions up to the present. Four years later Pomorskie Zjednoczone Fabryki Cukrow i Czekolady [The United Pomerania Sugar and Chocolate Factories] were established that connected the two factories, in 1951 the company was named Zaklady Przemyslu Cukierniczego Jutrzenka [Aurora Confectionery Plant]. In this story, Bydgoszcz Jutrzenka [Aurora] and Torun Kopernik [Copernicus] joined and separated, until finally in 1993 they formed Przedsiebiorstwo Cukiernicze Jutrzenka S.A. [The Aurora Confectionery Company JSC]. In 2004, Jutrzenka bought the Polish Goplana brand from Nestle and a factory in Poznan, Poland, and a year later it began working closely with Kaliszanka – The Grzeski wafer manufacturer. Following the new trends and continuous introduction of product innovation allows the company to be an important player in the global market. Since joining the European Union in 2004, the company has taken several actions to build a distribution network and increased sales on the EU market and make the most of every opportunity to access new sources of raw materials.
In 1952, in Lublin, Poland, Firma Cukiernicza Solidarność [The Solidarity Confectionery Company] was founded, which in the early sixties has developed the world-famous Sliwka Naleczowska [Naleczow Plum] – the pride of the manufacturer. In 1994, Firma Cukiernicza Solidarność has launched chocolates with hazelnut cream - Golden Hazelnut. The greatest asset of the company is the quality of its products, which was achieved thanks to modern production technologies and their own recipes. In 2003, the company has invested in modern production lines and built a new hall. In the same year, it launched one of the most modern, in Europe, production lines for boxes of chocolates and pralines with liquid liqueur and chocolates with cherry liqueur. Currently, the excellent products of Firma Cukiernicza Solidarność are present in markets around the world. Firma Cukiernicza Solidarność belongs to Colian Group.
The Millano Company has been on the market for over a quarter of a century, since it started its business, based in Przezmierowo, Poland, in 1982. Ten years later the company opened a production hall for shaping chocolate bars. In 1996 Millano set in motion one of the most modern production lines for chocolate mass and covertures in the country - numerically controlled, and can produce 100 tons of mass per day. The year 2000 was a breakthrough year - Millano becomes co-owner of the Pomorzanka Slupsk Company, thereby extending its offer with a wide range of products: hard candies, jelly products and chocolate-covered products. Another important date is 2006, when one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the confectionery industry was commissioned, which meets the highest international standards in production and work safety. At the same time the machine fleet was extended with production lines of the latest generation and packaging machines. During this time, combining tradition with acquired experience and modern technology, the company created Baron Excellent brands, thanks to which it became an important participant in the market for chocolate products.
The origins of the company Dr. Gerard date back to 1993 when a private production plant was established in the town of Lipiny Stare, Poland. Initially, only four types of short-pastry tarts and small, round gingerbread were included in a modest offer. Under favourable conditions of the market economy, the company has developed fast. Already in the first year of operation, having a semi-automated line, it launched the sale of approximately 50 types of new cookies, and is still greatly successful and very popular among consumers. In 1999 the company began an intensive process of modernization. At present the company has a fully automated production line, and the production range includes over 200 items. The production of cookies and chocolate products whose perfect quality is the result of combining traditional production methods of sweet products with advanced technology, available today, is the basis of the Dr. Gerard company business. The best-known brands include: PryncyPalki, Kremisie, Mafijne, Pasja, Jaski, Maltikeks.
The "Chojecki" company was founded in 1979 by Maria Chojecki and Janusz Chojecki in Skierniewice, Poland. From the beginning high quality products were a priority for the company. To obtain this, recipes were improved, semi-finished products were carefully selected and improvements to production methods have been introduced. Customers appreciate the passion of the owners and the exceptional attention to quality. The "Chojecki" brand quickly gained a good reputation and a leading position in the local market. As a result of continuous development, more than 30 years of experience and improvements, the company has evolved from a small confectionery company into a large food company, producing shortbread, gingerbread, sponge fingers and biscuits, present on the Polish market and on more than 40 foreign markets, located in 6 continents.
Zaklady Produkcji Cukierniczej VOBRO [VOBRO Confectionery Manufacturing Plant] has been functioning in Brodnica for more than 20 years. The area is Pojezierze Brodnickie [Brodnica Lake District] – an ecologically clean area. Since its inception, it has only Polish capital. The main VOBRO products are, boxes of chocolates, cakes and candies, and are known throughout Poland as well as in many European countries - in fact one third of its production is exported. The experience of the crew as well as equipment and technologies worthy of the twenty-first century and the selection of the best raw materials ensure VOBRO the highest standards of quality.
"Bałtyk" Confectionery Industry is a large home limited company. It is the largest company in Pomerania, producing chocolate products and semi-finished confectionery. All chocolate products are based on its own chocolate masses. Production is concentrated in two manufacturing facilities located in Gdansk-Oliwa. Establishments have a rich technology infrastructure and extensive machinery. The main elements are the factory for the production line of chocolate products and a line of products coated by chocolate. The most recent history of the company has started in 2005, when the "Bałtyk" became part of the holding company PPHU "Bomilla" Limited from Włocławek, and began to develop in accordance with one vision, common to both companies. The mission of the organization is: "Friendly working environment, ethical home business, close cooperation and continuous development of the retail partners and focus on the implementation of the customer's needs by providing high-quality product, giving joy of consumption."