Elevating Polish meat in the global market

Wednesday, 24 January, 2024 Food From Poland 42/2024
Hubert Owczarek, Export Director at Cedrob Foods, dives into the future of the food industry, the rise of health-conscious choices, and Poland’s key role in global poultry production. From eco-conscious packaging to the nuances of global meat trends CEDROB paints a comprehensive picture of the culinary future.
Which trends on the food/meat market will be crucial in the years to come?

The years to come will surely be a time for the development of the trends we can already observe for some time. Above all, I mean the numeric development of the convenience category, as well as the further change of the health-promoting attitude of consumers. Customers are already increasingly inclined today to reach for cold cuts with a short composition and lower calorific value. We, as a part of the Cedrob group of companies, a leading producer of poultry meat, focus predominantly on poultry cold cuts. Besides, all the global studies show that poultry consumption is on the rise, along with a simultaneous drop in pork consumption. Our strategy responds to these macrotrends, both on the domestic market and on the export ones. 

Please tell us about your major achievements/export results in the recent years.

Recently, we have mainly been focused on associated countries, i.e. the European Union, as well as on closer directions, such as the UK and Ukraine. We are proud that both traditional cold cut products, emblematic for Polish cuisine, and modern ones, such as kabanos sausage snacks, are available in several dozen countries, both under our own commercial brands and under private labels of our customers. 

The use of shock freezing has also allowed us to optimize the supply chain and thus to enter the British or French market with an offer of ready meals. 

What is the potential – including in the export aspect – of the market of prepared dishes?

Prepared dishes, just beside frankfurters, serve as the basis of export activities today, since they are similar in most countries of the world and they respond to a key trend connected with providing consumers with ready products that do not require a large amount of time to prepare. Convenience store chains developing at an increasing pace, from 7-Eleven to Polish Żabka, only confirm that consumers expect boxed solutions addressing all opportunities for consumption. 

The Polish poultry sector – development and prospects.

Poland is one of the most important players in the segment of poultry production worldwide. Therefore, it is natural that we gain more and more markets, including with processed products. As a part of the Cedrob group, one of Europe’s largest poultry suppliers, we have an excellent, safe infrastructure allowing us to build an increasingly strong portfolio of poultry cold cuts and prepared chicken dishes. 

Polish products = high quality. Please tell us about the development of your brands in exports. 

For many years, Polish producers have indeed developed a very positive image, associated with the high quality of their cold cuts and meat products. Nevertheless, Polish commercial brands are still known on the domestic market above all. This is surely a crucial challenge to Polish exporters. Our export portfolio is partially implemented through our commercial brands – in this case, the most important one is Duda – but a considerable share is comprised by private labels of our customers. In the years to come, we will develop these two branches of export activities simultaneously. 

Are the preferences and expectations of European consumers concerning the meat offer similar to the Polish ones? What do they appreciate Polish meat products for? 

Polish cold cuts stand out among other European countries with their high quality. The Polish cold cut offer is surely more diversified and varied than, for instance, Spanish of Italian cold cuts which have a more unified portfolio. The positive evaluation of Polish cold cuts is affected by the high-quality raw materials of Polish origin, both poultry and pork, as well as high-quality processing – on a mass scale but supported by craft experience. 

What are the most serious challenges in the export of meat products? 

Today, the greatest challenge seems to be increasing the share of Polish cold cuts in the most generic cold cut segments comprising the common denominator of most export countries. Another major challenge is keeping up with the global price competitiveness which is often difficult to achieve in view of the significant differences between production standards in and outside the EU. A task no less challenging is building the general brand of Polish food, connected with a package of associations that would translate into high sales. 

What innovations in the packaging category are expected by a modern European consumer?

The need for innovation in the category of packaging essentially boils down to the functions of usefulness and convenience for customers. This includes “open/close” packages, or those enabling longer preservation of freshness, including large packages high in weight. There is also a strong trend for bio-packaging and the reduction of plastics in package production. We successfully apply such solutions, e.g. in the case of convenience dishes – using an eco-tray made of recycled and recyclable materials.

Which are your most prospective foreign markets?

Apart from our further, consistent development in the European Union, including those in areas that require products certified as halal, both North African and Persian Gulf countries are important markets to us. Looking further: in view of the growing GDP in African countries, the entire continent requires attention and understanding of consumer needs that are changing there as well. Of course, from the viewpoint of demographics, Asian markets are a very important part of strategic thinking regarding exports.

How would you rate your participation in fairs? What events do you plan to attend this season?

Each year, we take part in several dozen industry events, both as participants and as exhibitors, trying to use this opportunity not only to build our commercial contacts but to understand the specific nature of local markets, in order to develop specialized offers responding to the needs of the given countries. Among the most important events, we can name: Anuga 2023, Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2023, Dibevo Trade Fair 2023, PLMA 2024, Food Expo Greece 2024, SIAL 2024, or Alimentaria Barcelona 2024.

Thank you
Monika Górka

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