Year 2023 summary - Producer’s perspective

Monday, 29 January, 2024

2a.jpgMarietta Stefaniak
Vice-President of the Management Board for Strategy and Development,
Zakłady Mięsne Silesia

Even though 2023 was a challenging year for both consumers and producers, our industry recorded a year-on-year increase in the consumption of meat and cured meats, which, accompanied by a decline in the category of so-called substitutes, means that it is one of the few in the grocery basket that has an absolutely established position. Of course, rising inflation has caused the consumer to be prudent in their spending and budget management, in which food products play an important role. This has translated into an increase in the share of products in the basket that allows sensible shopping at an affordable price - such as poultry sausages, which, in addition to being more reasonably priced, also have many health-promoting qualities in the diet. We are also noticing a growing interest in products with a simple label that indicates a concern for health and wellness - an aftermath of the pandemic and a strong mega-trend for the category as a whole. For us, 2023 was marked by dynamic growth, increasing market share and export expansion. Importantly, the foundation of these activities is our strategy based on poultry meats. As the processing division of Cedrob, Poland’s largest white meat producer, we are convinced that from both an economic and a health point of view, this is today the best offer for the consumer, not only Polish consumers.

17.jpgKarol Pilaciński
Export Director

At present, several trends can be observed on the market that influence the activities of producers: growing consumer awareness, ecology and innovation. Firstly, customers are interested in the composition of the product, the content of fibre, vitamins, and protein. Consumers expect a healthy product that provides them with additional benefits.
The growing awareness of consumers also applies to the ecological approach. This forces producers to optimise their packaging - reducing or introducing biodegradable materials.
Consumers are looking for novelty, so manufacturers are engaged in constant innovation. Customers like to experiment and explore new flavours. This forces producers to continually develop their offer, introducing flavours on an in-out basis.
Bogutti Company is not passive to these trends. Currently, the focus is on the development of the sugar-free cookie line - Free, Weeksy (also without palm oil) and the unique La Gustosa Free line ( cookies with no added sugar cream).

15.jpgPaweł Majchrzak
Chief Operating Officer, Member of the Management Board

In the domestic market, the confectionery industry - despite the challenges of rising energy, raw material and employment costs, as well as changing consumer preferences and increasing health awareness - remains stable. Growing interest in natural products, free of artificial colours and preservatives - is one of the key trends with us, which will influence the market’s development in 2024 and beyond. Customers are increasingly paying attention to the composition of products and their impact on health. We can therefore expect continued interest in products with lower sugar content, without artificial additives and containing natural ingredients. And the companies that adapt their offers to these expectations - may gain in popularity.
On the other hand, we have the export market, which is also an important part of the business of domestic confectionery manufacturers. Global competition, changing conditions in trade and cultural differences influence their strategies. In recent years, we can observe a growing interest in sweets with a regional character, which can represent an opportunity for producers offering unique flavours and traditional recipes. It should also be added that healthy alternatives, such as sweets without added sugar or products enriched with natural ingredients, are gaining popularity in both the domestic and international markets. Therefore, companies will focus on developing new products that meet the needs of consumers looking for healthier options.

4a.jpgJustyna Figiel-Kwapisz
Commercial Director of Retail, Goodvalley

The year 2023 can be described as a challenging one for the meat industry, which is highly sensitive to all social and economic changes. The ASF virus, the echo of the pandemic, as well as high production costs and inflation, have contributed to a decline in the pig population. In turn, high meat prices in Poland have resulted in the import of raw material from the European Union (for years Poland has been importing more raw material from abroad than it has been exporting). The difficult market situation is reflected in the shopping baskets of consumers who are making their purchasing choices in an increasingly thoughtful manner. Against this backdrop, producers in the meat sector are gaining ground, focusing on locality and Polish production. As Dolina Dobra, we can certainly boast that our meat is 100% Polish. Despite the challenges posed by the market, quality and taste are invariably key for us. In addition, there has been a clear increase in the number of consumers looking for products with 100% meat content and a natural, good composition. What distinguishes Dolina Dobra products is precisely the short label and the absence of any artificial additives or preservatives. The products of the Dolina Dobra brand are perfectly in line with current market trends (we implement a socially responsible business strategy and conduct comprehensive activities related to a sustainable food production system). We continue to encourage people to choose sustainable products (according to the principle “eat less, but of good, proven quality”). It has been an exceptional year for Dolina Dobra, due to the increase in awareness of our brand and the development of our portfolio. This year saw the launch of, among others, Dobrusie children’s sausages with 100% Polish ham in their ingredients and Proteina+ sausages containing specially selected pieces of meat. Their short, good composition makes them unique in terms of quality on the market in the sausage category.

1.jpgJacek Wyrzykiewicz
PR & Marketing Services Manager Hochland Polska

The market situation in 2023 was unstable. The food industry continues to face major challenges from rising costs, high inflation, rising food prices and slowing consumption. The market is unpredictable, especially as the dairy industry has recently been facing large fluctuations in the milk price market. And it is a key raw material in our business.
For several years now, products responding to the needs of special diets, such as lactose-free or gluten-free, have been increasingly popular with consumers in Poland and around the world. In response to the needs of consumers with lactose intolerance - we are creating tailor-made product offers, such as Almette without lactose. Following the success of the Almette without lactose line introduced in 2020 in a standard container, a new addition to the fluffy cheese category - MINI Almette cream cheese without lactose - was launched in shops in February this year.
In 2023, we focused on optimisation - both on the operational side: the efficiency and costs of production facilities, as well as on the product range, optimising the product list and eliminating those with the least added value. One of our priorities is actions based on accelerating innovation, digitalisation and improvement through the efficient generation and use of data, and we have launched several initiatives in this area. We are proud that, despite the difficult market situation and a number of market challenges, the company has managed to maintain its leading position in the market for branded cheese in Poland. Our Almette and Hochland brands are growing. Our Valbon mould cheese is also performing well.

13.jpgPrzemysław Gostkiewicz
President of the Management Board, Sokołów

In 2023, we faced a number of challenges that significantly conditioned the functioning of all businesses. The main ones were, of course, high inflation and rising raw material and production costs. In addition, the meat industry is still struggling with the ASF epidemic and the unstable situation on the raw materials market. Farmers are still in a difficult position, due to ASF-related restrictions and rising costs and are often operating on the brink of profitability. Despite such a complex economic situation, we have managed to maintain the stable development of our company. We have made important investments, thanks to which we are increasing our production potential and pursuing our social responsibility goals. We have launched photovoltaic installations at six branches of the Sokołów Group, which allow us to reduce the consumption of natural resources and optimise production costs. We have introduced further novelties to our product range, meeting current consumer needs. We also plan to further develop our portfolio, providing high-quality products such as meat snacks, sausages and products from the Sokoliki line, among others. Our priority is to meet the expectations of customers who value our brands, trust them and are eager to use them.

2.jpgKarina Noculak
Marketing Manager, Profi

The past year, although full of challenges, turned out to be very successful for our JemyJemy ready-made soups brand. We strengthened our position as the leader in the ambient soups category, a position we have held for years, with a 29% increase in annual volume sales (MAT October according to NielsenIQ). The adopted strategy of investing in the highest quality in line with current trends has brought tangible results. In autumn this year, we extended the Zupy Świata line with a new product - Mexican Soup - and we already have the first signals from the market that it has been very well received by consumers. Currently, the JemyJemy brand consists of 18 soups, cooked with natural ingredients, without preservatives or artificial colours, in three lines: Traditional Soups, World Soups and Vegetable Cream Soups. Consumers are looking for authentic products with good, short ingredients that taste homemade but are quick to serve. JemyJemy soups simply need to be poured into a dish and heated to provide a wholesome, filling and tasty meal in a matter of moments. The success of our brand is also due to the handy and lightweight doypack packaging and the fact that the soups do not need to be stored in the refrigerator due to the natural preservation process. We look to the future with moderate, but nevertheless, optimism.

4.jpgAleksander Wasilewski
President of the Management Board of Cereal Partners Poland Toruń-Pacific

I hope that our consumers will associate 2023 with Nestlé KitKat cereal. Together with the entire team of Cereal Partners Poland Toruń-Pacific, we are very proud of this novelty with the taste of the legendary milk chocolate candy bar. KitKat flakes have been received by consumers very enthusiastically, as confirmed by sales results. We produce them in Poland at our Toruń plant using mostly cereal raw materials from local suppliers. The cocoa is sourced from 100% sustainably farmed cocoa from competitors implementing the “Cocoa Plan” programme, as confirmed by the Rainforest Alliance logo on the packaging. I recommend everyone to start their day off right with Nestlé KitKat cereal.
The year 2023 will also certainly be remembered for high inflation. The rising costs of raw materials, labour, packaging and logistics forced us to look for solutions that would protect consumers from passing these additional burdens on to them. A lot of work went into finding the optimum packaging size, especially for larger ones. Retailers liked them because the product in the family packages, on a price-per-kilo basis, is cheaper compared to smaller packages. We are also noticing a further flow of customers from hypermarkets and traditional shops to discounters. The key here was to work with our partners in this trade segment to develop an offer that would give consumers access to their favourite brands of breakfast cereals and cereal bars.

16.jpgCezary Knaś
Head of Export at E.Wedel

Poland is currently the largest market for chocolate confectionery in Central and Eastern Europe. Local producers have successfully captured the preferences of not just Polish consumers, but also gained the recognition of foreign markets. Poland ranks as the third largest exporter of chocolate confectionery in the European Union in terms of market volume. With a 170-year tradition of producing high-quality chocolate, Wedel exports its products to more than 60 countries. The recent years have marked a period of intense export development for Wedel, with year-on-year growth constantly exceeding 10 % of the company’s turnover.
Expansion in foreign markets becomes achievable through the implementation of a long-term strategy built upon several essential pillars: tailoring the product portfolio to meet consumer expectations in chosen markets, concentrating on identifying new trends and evolving shifts, enhancing the expertise of the export team, boosting the operational capabilities of supporting departments within the Export Division, and strengthening the business and brand presence in selected markets.
One of the key achievements resulting from our consistently implemented strategy is the remarkable growth rate of over 20% in exports during 2023. In addition to traditionally significant ethnic markets such as the USA, UK, and Germany, where our export flagship, Ptasie Mleczko®, continues to excel, we are focusing our efforts in the Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and South American regions, primarily offering a range of chocolate bars there. Exportation represents a fundamental element of Wedel’s long-term strategy, a company with a presence in the Polish market since 1851. In the upcoming years, we plan to extend our export development in selected markets. Our objective is to maintain double-digit growth in product sales abroad, as achieved in the previous year, by reaching an expanding global customer base.

19.jpgRobert Jutka
Internal Sales Director

The Polish market is clearly seeing an upward trend in smaller confectionery packaging. Consumers are opting for functional products such as breakfast cookies, which contain more nutrients. There is an increasing demand for premium quality products with more ingredients such as chocolate and extras to make them stand out on the sales shelf. Growing consumer awareness means that the composition of products, the quality of packaging, or how raw materials are sourced is becoming an important factor in purchasing decisions.
In 2023, the situation of the Polish economy was more stable, but confectionery manufacturers still need to be flexible and react quickly to changing operating conditions, related, for example, to raw material prices or rising costs in 2024. Despite the short-term challenges, the Polish market is expected to grow in value in the long term.
The long-term positive outlook for the confectionery market is pleasing, but it must be remembered that producers still face many economic difficulties. These include both local and global factors.

6.jpgEwa Krzuś-Wiśniewska
Vice-President of the Management Board of TiM

In 2023, Poles have sharply reduced their spending on the alcohol category. This is influenced by high inflation, which impoverishes the consumer regardless of whether they buy wine or not. The alcohol industry is one of the most affected by the shopping changes of Poles. In 2023, sales of all alcohol categories declined, but, noteworthy, the smallest decline was seen on the wine shelf. TiM, despite category declines in the market, grew in volume, which allows us to look positively at the future. The appropriate correlation of the assortment with customer needs, i.e. wine profile, price to quality and response to market needs, allows us to fill this area of the market where quality compensates for the price of the product.
In the 2022/2023 financial year, TiM strengthened its market position and implemented strategies to ensure further growth. Growth was driven both by increasing sales of products from the Company’s portfolio and by the success of new products launched on the market. TiM attaches great importance to the highest quality of the wines it offers and emphasises innovation, sustainability and customer satisfaction. Operating in a dynamic business environment, it consistently develops its business strategy to meet changing market trends and the expectations of its trading partners.
All these successes would not be possible without the commitment and work of the team of specialists that make up TiM S.A.’s crew, whose professionalism and passion are crucial to the realisation of the organisation’s goals. Work efficiency is also influenced by the flexibility and agility of the TiM Company and its ability to adapt to the requirements of the industry and the market.

7.jpgDorota Liszka
Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Maspex Group

In 2023, we faced numerous challenges. Our industry had to face inflationary pressures and excise duty increases, which resulted in a decrease in sales volume in the alcohol category. Nevertheless, we are proud to highlight our achievements in innovation. The introduction of new product variants under the Soplica and Żubrówka brands allowed us to attract new customers and successfully maintain our position on the market, even in the face of the difficult conditions of the past year.
A variety of flavours became the dominant trend in 2023, attracting the attention of producers who quickly adapted their offers to the new market expectations. In the flavoured spirits segment, the Soplica brand surprised with the introduction of Cytrynowa - a product of exceptional quality. This move strengthened Soplica’s position, attracting loyal customers and expanding the range to include exotic flavours. The Żubrowka brand also introduced several innovations, showcasing the ‘Ready To Serve’ category of flavoured spirits with the addition of Bison Grass in a variety of flavours such as Apple Ż, Sour Ż and Mint Ż, which significantly built up sales of the iconic Żubrowka Bison Grass vodka.
The premiumisation trend in the Polish alcohol market was also evident. Consumers are increasingly willing to reach for premium spirits, such as exclusive Żubrówka Czarna, Grant’s Scotch Whisky and Glenfiddich or Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whisky. Sparkling wines are very popular among women, with Prosecco LAMIA deserving special attention. All this reflects the evolving preferences of consumers who are looking for innovative experiences in the world of spirits.

20_1.jpgTetiana Gurnevych
International Sales Director

The prices of food products, including sweets, due to inflation are being felt by both producers and consumers. The consequences of this situation are visible both at home and on the export market. Suffice to mention that the price of cocoa on the international exchange is so high for the first time in 44 years. This naturally translates into the price of confectionery, especially chocolate confectionery, in which this ingredient is essential. This poses quite a challenge for producers, but we believe that Wawel’s high-quality sweets, with their simple and short composition, are worth the higher price. We do not want to reduce the quality of our products due to the increasing price of raw materials, so we continue to ensure that their quality remains at a consistently high level.
To this end, in 2024 we will be focusing on strong communication of dedicated modules for the sale of all Wawel brand products by weight - Wawel Pick&Mix Choose Your Royal Quality. They are available in a variety of formats, making them easily adaptable to any shop space. Thanks to this innovative solution, consumers can quickly and easily compose their favourite mix of Wawel sweets in any quantity. In addition, making it easier for the consumer to use our original display stands, all Wawel sweets available in the Pick&Mix Choose Your Royal Quality modules have the same price.
2024 will certainly be a year of many interesting challenges and, we hope, successes as well. Currently, 6,715 Wawel Pick&Mix Choose Your Royal Quality modules are available on foreign markets. At the moment, the platform is available in 5 languages. We firmly believe that this number will gradually increase over the coming years.
A novelty that we have introduced on our modules are dedicated QR codes placed on all front labels in the modules, so that the consumer can obtain information on a particular sweet. This is another step in our Good Ingredients programme, where we transparently communicate the short and simple composition of our products and the elimination of unnecessary ingredients. Such solutions are a step towards the increasingly demanding customer who, even in the confectionery category, wants to know what he is putting in his basket and be convinced that this choice is the best. Our innovative solutions help to reassure customers that by choosing Wawel, they are choosing the best!

12.jpgTadeusz Czarniecki
Marketing Director, OSHEE™ Poland

It has been another difficult year with high inflationary pressure and, consequently, decreasing consumer purchasing power. This has determined further changes in consumer behaviour, both in terms of how and where they shop, as well as the frequency and amount of the receipt.
Pressure from discounters and aggressive promotion of their own brands was evident throughout the year and felt particularly in generic categories, where first-price products play a significant role.
Despite these fluctuations, it has been an extremely successful year for Oshee, with very strong growth in value but above all in volume, which means that our product offering is reaching more and more consumers. Consistency in brand building and attention to the availability of the product offer, with intensive advertising and promotional support at the point of sale, have brought the expected results in terms of strengthening our market position.
We entered the year 2023 with a thorough rebranding of the brand, to give the brand a new, refreshed look together with the planned activities. A new brand ambassador in the person of Iga Świątek, an announced partnership with one of the best football leagues in the world - the Spanish La Liga, a collabo with the rapper Mata or another product line with CD Project Red (Cyberpunk) are the most important events of the year for Oshee, next to the launch of the new HydroBoost range.

14.jpgDorota Harnas-Jurczyk
Export Manager

The situation in the sweets and snacks market is stable at the moment, as the sweet snacks market is constantly growing. The global confectionery market is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Both Polish and foreign consumers are looking for products that allow them that moment of pleasure. Sweets improve mood and well-being, which is why they are so eagerly chosen by consumers.
The taste of the product, its quality and the ingredients used play an important role in the choice. The innovation of the product is also important. Consumers prefer snacks in smaller packs, which are great for taking on the go and which they can easily share with loved ones.
Aksam’s portfolio includes a whole series of sweet products, under the brand names Beskidzkie Łakocie (for the Polish market) and Soleo Sweet (for export markets), which respond to the above consumer needs. The doughy flavour of the fingers and pretzels together with the sweet topping is a great compromise between a snack and a sweet dessert. The small packaging allows you to take the product with you literally anywhere, and its form allows you to share the snack with others.
In order to move with the times and be well prepared for the times ahead, it is extremely important to have a good understanding of the needs of consumers in different corners of the world and to continuously adapt products to these requirements.

18.jpgRafał Adamski
Sales Director, I.D.C. Polonia

The passing year 2023 has proved to be an extremely dynamic one for the FMCG industry. Manufacturers have been left with no choice but to adapt their strategies to changing customer priorities and to meet growing consumer expectations. Among the many product categories, wafers appear to be not only resilient to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but also to unfavourable external conditions such as rising prices for energy and raw materials for production, generating challenges in terms of production costs.
As a result of the measures taken, the wafer category has seen impressive sales growth. According to data made available by the portal, an impressive amount - 90,000 tonnes of waffles and wafers with a total value of EUR 503 million - was delivered to foreign customers in the last twelve months. Compared to the same period last year, the volume of products sold increased by 6.6%, while the value recorded a phenomenal jump of 16.1%. All in all, 2023 has brought dynamic growth for the wafer category, and I.D.C. Polonia gaining a permanent place in the market is an excellent example of success in this area. We expect the coming years to bring equally promising prospects for the development of this dynamic industry.

tagi: year 2023 summary , producer’s perspective , food market , sales , trade , consumer , FMCG , wholesale , retail , food products , news , new products , food industry , retail chains , grocery stores , Poland ,