At about €25m Croatia’s food supplements market is small and dominated by local players like Atlantic Grupa which last year won a €300m grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to develop sustainability programmes.
Now that EU ascension has occurred, Croatian market expert at Euromonitor International, Sasa Vignjevic, said there may be some consolidation of local companies with the vitamins and mineral supplements market expected to expand 14.1% between 2012 and 2017.
Interest has already being shown by the likes of multinational pharma firm Teva which took control of local pharma-nutra entity Pliva when it bought Barr Pharma in December 2008.
“Yes there may be some consolidation from the west especially as there is this phenomenon where trade moves west to east not the other way,” Vignjevic said.
“You cannot sell westwards. So Croatia cannot sell anything to Slovenia, Austria and Germany but they can sell eastwards to Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia. Which is the same thing all over the Balkans.”
“It is about perceived quality and also you have to have some strength to set foot there – you cannot just do it out of an idea – you need strength to set foot there.”
Of the legal set-up he observed: “For the past four years when Croatia knew that it was going to join the Union it has basically copied the European Union directives and regulations about health claims and permitted ingredients in foods and supplements.”