Just two decades ago, retailers were exclusively supplied by local bakeries that used to deliver fresh white bread to their shops. Since then, the situation has changed in the sense that major retailers started to get prefabricated loaves of frozen bread, which they would bake on the spot in newly acquired bakery ovens.
Looking at per capita spending, baked goods, bread in particular, make up a significant part of the Croatian daily food basket. The meals they eat, alongside their taste preferences, are the main drivers behind such an impressive performance.
At the beginning of the millennium, the domination of white wheat bread baked fresh and consumed the same day seemed unquestionable. The change in the way bread is sold in retail came quietly, but relatively quickly.
Despite all the years of effort to consolidate baked goods, there was no creation of major national brands within the category in Croatia. Artisanal bread continued to prevail and accounted for more than two thirds of all value sales in 2018.
To add to the confusion, retailers deliberately avoid standardising their products. They are not named in a way that might explain the ingredients or the recipe, but are often given detached marketing designations such as “Hunter’s Bread”, “Forester’s Bread”, “Loafer” and similar, so that buyers who arrive at a retail outlet for the first time will have to ask the staff what the names mean.
Given the importance of bread as a staple in Croatia, the government previously used to intervene very often in the industry, keeping the price down and protecting bread as some sort of a social category that ensures food for those who are economically challenged. Although the government does not (and cannot) intervene any longer, the general sensitivity towards bread pricing has remained.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.