Polish FMCG market summary

Thursday, 09 February, 2023 Food From Poland 40/2023
2022 brought many changes to the Polish market of fast-moving consumer goods. Unforeseen events, inflation, growing prices – December is a good time for summing up. What challenges did producers face? Which subjects dominated the industry discourse? Which categories won the consumers’ hearts (and receipts), and which trends had the most profound impact on the offer of the leading players? The industry’s representatives analyze the last twelve months in the trade sector and lay out their future plans.

1.JPGJan Kolański
President of the Board

In my opinion, the past year has been an unprecedented time – with the economy seriously battered after the COVID-19 pandemic and additionally strained by the war in Ukraine. The unstable geopolitical situation contributed to price increases on the raw materials market, as well as to price rises of electric power, gas, and other fuels. Therefore, production costs have become the greatest inhibitor to the development of most enterprises, having them focus on actions aimed at searching for savings. Colian is no exception – we were forced to verify our assumed budgets as much as other entities were. In such an uncertain environment, we carefully conside our decisions so as to emerge unscathed from the crisis. We watch the market trends closely and we skillfully implement them in our own portfolio. In recent years, the consumers’ awareness has been growing, as has the demand for vegetarian and eco products. This is certainly the main direction of our activities nowadays. Out of care for the environment, we will invest in green energy in the years to come. Due to  inflation, as well as to a range of other factors, other plans have been suspended.

2.JPGDariusz Sapiński
President of the Board
Mlekovita Group

For Mlekovita, a company with many years of tradition and a well-founded position on both the Polish and foreign market, 2022 has been an exceptional, jubilee year: it marked 30 years of the brand. Mlekovita spent the jubilee of its brand as the largest dairy group not just in Poland but in the entire Central-East Europe. To commemorate this jubilee and three decades of the development of our company, we organized a range of events in 2022, including the 1st All-Polish Forum of Business Partners or the 1st All-Polish Dairy Trade Congress. On the occasion of our jubilee, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki paid a visit to  our central office in September. All things that have happened in the past year prove the rightness of the road that we had taken 30 years ago – since its inception, Mlekovita has enjoyed the recognition of consumers and experts alike, gaining many prizes for the brand and its products. I am glad Mlekovita invariably proves to be the best and most valuable brand in the industry. This is another confirmation of the strategy rightly chosen 30 years ago, focusing on long-term partner cooperation with milk suppliers, as well as on consistent development for the good of the consumers. The history of the Mlekovita brand is written with constant development. This allows us to look confidently into the future and to develop the Mlekovita company and brand.

3.JPGEdmund Borawski
Former President of the Board
SM Mlekpol

The year of 2022 has been extremely demanding to the entire FMCG industry. As soon as the pandemic-related economic restrictions were lifted, a war broke out in Ukraine. In view thereof, food producers, including SM Mlekpol as a leader of the dairy market, came to bear particular responsibility for ensuring food security to Polish consumers. With its experience, optimization, and change of production directions, Mlekpol has emerged unscathed from the situation. However, potential restriction of energy supplies has become a real threat. It has become necessary to ration the consumption of fuels essential for food processing. Yet the greatest strength of the Cooperative is the people who create it: milk suppliers, employees, and partners. SM Mlekpol follows the principles of sustainable development, engages in many undertakings to the benefit of the local community and natural environment. It also develops its production on a regular basis. Next year, the offer will also be expanded to include new products in line with the current trends and consumer needs. All of this makes the Cooperative develop resiliently and break new records of purchase, processing and sales of dairy products, both in Poland and abroad.

1.JPGJakub Nowak
President of the Board
JNT Group

After the pandemic, the year 2022 brought more challenges to the economy, and thus to the wine industry; namely, the conflict in Ukraine and the abrupt inflation. The war translated into problems with availability of bottles, price increases of raw materials based on wheat and maize, as well as growth of energy prices. As for the inflation, the costs of materials at JNT Group, including raw materials, have grown by 75% during the year. Simultaneously, the pressure from consumers who limit their expenses is growing. The trend of premiumization, observed on the wine market over the recent years, has markedly slowed down – Polish people choose products which are slightly less expensive but of good quality. The year to come will be equally hard for the industry, especially the smaller companies, due to the predicted recession and continued inflation.

In spite of the recession, JNT Group is closing the year with good results. We are focusing on development of the product portfolio and we have marketed such products as Galicyjska and the new variants of Grzaniec Galicyjski mulled wine in the past year. We are also developing the growing category of aromatized wines, e.g. the new Monte Santi Frizzante line. In 2023, among other things, we plan further development of the key Monte Santi brand and intense marketing activities.

2.JPGMaciej Częścik
Deputy President of the Board, Trade and Marketing Officer, Sokołów

This year has put particularly many challenges on our way. The outbreak of the war in Ukraine brought far-reaching consequences to the economic situation, not just in our region but globally. We are all struggling against the rampant inflation. Production costs have reached an extremely high level and pose an enormous challenge to producers. In the meat sector, other challenges include ASF which is still spreading, the unstable situation on the raw material market, and the pig stock decline. Despite such difficult conditions, thanks to the hard work of the entire team at Sokołów Group, as well as the active search for solutions and new possibilities, we have managed to achieve satisfactory results. Due to the extremely complex market situation, it is hard to make any well-founded prognoses today for the year to come. However, the sure thing is that consumers will continue to demonstrate increased sensitivity to the value-to-price ratio and search for promotions. Of particular importance to us is the effort to maintain the balance between the stable development of our Group and maintenance of prices acceptable to customers. We will continue our active search for and implementation of optimizing solutions in many areas. We are invariably implementing investments in the area of sustainable production of food. Our goal remains to provide high-quality, safe and tasty products in line with the expectations of our consumers.

3.JPGJacek Wyrzykiewicz
PR & Marketing Services Manager, Hochland Polska

In 2022, Hochland Polska was well-organized, and even in difficult times, it was able to ensure virtually uninterrupted availability of its offer to the market and stores. However, one cannot deny that the dairy industry is acutely feeling the results of the progressing inflation affecting the way people spend and save, not to mention the choice of products they buy. At Hochland Polska, we act with unprecedented quickness and flexibility, at each stage of operation, including the area of design and management of expenses and prices. We have successfully passed another year of the pandemic with no loss of life or severe illnesses. We have also defended our market share and maintained the leader’s position held by our brands in the category of cheese. Hochland Polska is continuing its development and doing what it does best: developing and strengthening its brands. The greatest achievement of Hochland Polska in 2022 was the new Almette cottage cheese. This concept stands out on the market, surprising the consumers with a modern interpretation of classic cottage cheese. Several weeks since entry to the market, Almette cottage cheeses have been deemed the Golden Innovation of FMCG in 2022. We are fighting for the consumer all the time! Each day, consumers across Poland have almost 2,400,000 sandwiches with our cheese, and our plan for the year to come is there will be even more of it!

4.JPGJakub Kępka
Key Account Manager

For many years, we have been able to boast our specialization in refrigerated transport in countries of Western and Southern Europe, as well as Scandinavia. Conducting many talks with our contractors for a couple of years, we have noticed a trend for increased demand for transport of small quantities of goods requiring controlled temperatures. Hence the expansion of our offer and the adaptation of our fleet to the customers’ needs. We invest in the development and the innovation of our equipment. We leave no room for any shortcomings or negligence which may affect the final quality of the product delivered to an individual customer. Apart from the fleet development, we have invested in our storage areas, so that semitrailers can be handled without interrupting the cold chain. We are capable of adapting to every kind of goods requiring transport. Apart from high-class equipment and unlimited tool capabilities, we care a lot for the relations with our customers, offering consulting services in addition to the transport ones. We are available 24/7, always striving to meet the expectations and requirements of our contractors. We find nothing impossible – the sky is the limit.

1.JPGIwona Jacaszek-Pruś
Corporate Director
Kompania Piwowarska

2022 was another difficult year for the brewing industry. Another 10% raise of excise tax, the war in Ukraine and its consequences, the quickly growing inflation, and supply chain disruptions made us face extremely hard challenges. We also had to face consumer sentiments worse than in the darkest moments of COVID-19. According to the data of Kompania Piwowarska, the sales of beer in the April-August period dropped by 2.5% year-on-year in terms of volume. The value of the market only grew due to the growth of retail prices of beer, caused by the inflation. Growth in terms of volume, much slower than in the previous years, was recorded by non-alcoholic beers – almost 6%, flavoured beers – almost 5%, premium lagers, mainly international brands – nearly 7%, specialties – above 3%. The growth of Kompania Piwowarska in specialties was twice as high as the market average. We have maintained the position of the industry leader and implemented the goals of the “Better Future 2030” strategy. We will continue developing the segments of 0.0% beers, flavoured beers, premium and super-premium lagers: Kozel, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, and to support our brands which are the leaders of the Polish market: Żubr and Tyskie.

2.JPGJoanna Olczak
Sales & Trade Marketing Director
ETi International

2022 was a year full of challenges. The inflation affected the prices of raw materials, production costs and transport. This forced producers to increase the prices. A problem of availability and continuity of supplies arose. However, the Polish confectionery market grew thanks to brand products, private labels and new goods. We are growing, introducing new products, expanding our cooperation with partners, and implementing the assumed strategy focused on innovativeness, quality, and diversity.
The high awareness and good reputation of the Dare brand facilitate new implementations. In 2022, we expanded the Dare offer to include whole-grain cookies (distinction: Innovative Product 2022), with wheat from controlled sustainable crops. Polish people love confectionery, so they will keep buying it despite inflation and lower purchasing power. Under difficult economic conditions, they will pay more attention to the composition of products, their effect on the body, the way they provide pleasure. The focus on one’s own needs is a way to recover from painful events: the pandemic, the war, the crisis. In our plans for the next year, we wish to be consistent: to build our position, to improve the distribution, to deliver quality and the “taste of happiness” to our consumers.

3.JPGMaciej Herman

The Polish confectionery market is characterized by high maturity, which is why manufacturers (including Wedel) search for new paths for development, betting on exports, among other things. Simultaneously, in connection with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we were forced to introduce a number of changes in the area of international trade, e.g. in the management of purchases and the supply chain, or revision of our strategy of presence abroad, in view of our decision to discontinue trade in Russia and Belarus. As a target, within the next couple of years, we wish to double the value of our exports that currently comprise 10% of the entire company’s sales. Among other things, we continue our activities on the well-known and proven markets of the Polish diaspora.  

 What will 2023 bring to the food sector? We expect that the high inflation level will continue and the prices will not return to the pre-pandemic levels. We hope that, in the long run, the prices of raw materials, energy, and production costs will stabilize and the economic situation of the country will recover. Together, these two elements have a chance to stabilize the condition of the whole market and the budgets of Polish consumers.

4.JPGLeszek Wąsowicz
President of the Board

With 30 years of operations behind us, we have finished the last year with record-breaking sales, exceeding PLN 300 million for the first time. This result is especially spectacular, as it means we have become the largest supplier of dried fruit on the retail market in Poland. However, in the perspective of next year, positive symptoms are hard to find, particularly in terms of profitability. Inflation, depreciation of the zloty, the growing prices of energy, transport, or packaging the shrinking gross margin on sales and, in addition, the increasing interest rates, are no allies to us. We have never faced price increases on such a scale before. The unstable macroeconomic situation, especially on the currency market, causes numerous difficulties, starting from longer periods in the submission of offers. On the other hand, competitive advantages developed over many years are working in our favour. We have one of Europe’s greatest plants in the industry and we are the leader of the retail market in Poland. This allows us to obtain a significant effect of economies of scale. Therefore, the demand should be no problem for us, but growing expenses mean falling margins.

1.JPGMieszko Musiał
President of the Board,
Carlsberg Polska

2022 was another year of serious challenges. The industry is recording further drops in the sales volume of beer, as well as a valuable growth resulting from higher prices. This is connected with an unprecedented inflation, higher costs of labour, raw materials, or energy, as well as taxes, since the excise tax is growing by 10% again. In 2022, the industry recorded serious shortages in availability of certain raw materials and services, many of which were directly related to the war beyond our borders.
The industry’s challenges also affected our company. In such a dramatic situation, apart from our standard business operations, we strived to help our Ukrainian colleagues, organizing shelter for them in Poland, as well as arranging a survival camp at our Lviv brewery. As for the beer market, through the efforts of the entire organization, we have proposed many new, interesting products to our consumers, and developed the offer of 0.0% beers further, to include 15 products as of today. We have introduced new premium brands; Brooklyn in the category of lagers, as well as the flavoured and unique Blanc 1664, both were received very positively by the consumers. The market situation forces us to cut on all cost items which are not necessary for our basic operations. Our priority, as always, will be an extraordinary offer of new products, with no compromise regarding quality and the care for our team and its wellbeing. We have to survive this difficult time together.

2.JPGAgata Makowska
Trade Director
OSM Łowicz

2022 was another difficult period that we and the entire market had to face. Although we managed to catch a little breath after the hard pandemic year of 2021, which had already been an extremely difficult, unpredictable, and surprising time, far from the assumed plans, the year 2022 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February have startled and frightened everyone. The Polish economy is facing a range of challenges of a scale unprecedented over the last dozen years. The months and maybe years to come will be a difficult time, due to numerous factors, such as the runaway inflation, the increase in prices of energy raw materials, and the prospects of their shortage. We fear the emergence of stagflation in Poland, or a situation in which substantial inflation would coincide with a period of economic stagnation. The non-price aspects of products will become less relevant, as the consumers will pay most attention to prices. We know well that we pay more for good quality than for an economic-shelf product, which worries us as a producer of high-quality dairy products – consumers may pick goods which are slightly cheaper but much worse in terms of quality. OSM Łowicz stands on solid foundations – a recognizable brand, a well-established market position, qualified personnel, modern technological lines, and a good base of raw materials, to last and develop even in such difficult times.

3.JPGKamil Gębski
Vodka Marketing Director, CEDC International, Maspex Group

2022 has been a year full of challenges to the entire FMCG industry, and particularly to spirits, due to the growing excise tax and the unprecedented growth of production costs. Simultaneously, this is a year of high hopes for the industry – new concepts and flavours are being successfully tested, such as Soplica Zimowa, Żubrówka Rześki Rokitnik, or Rajska Cytryna.

This was a year of major changes connected with CEDC joining the structure of the Maspex Group, with simultaneous struggle for the constant development of the category of vodka and other alcoholic beverages in Poland.

The spirits sector in Poland is still developing, and the consumers show their appetite for innovations. The Polish people experiment with new alcohol flavours, formats, or packages more eagerly and more frequently. For many years, we have observed the trend for premiumization of spirits, following which the consumers increasingly reach for more expensive, high-quality alcohol – both for consumption and as gifts. Polish consumers choose proven products by well-known brands. They also search for traditional beverages prepared in accordance with old recipes. Soplica liqueurs and nalewka fruit infusions certainly fit in with this trend. As the leader of the alcohol industry, we wish to take the responsibility for its development to the benefit of our trade partners. We plan many powerful campaigns with regards to the offer, but also to other consumer experiences and trade tools.

1.JPGJacek Górecki
Managing Director
Lantmannen Unibake Poland

2022 has been a laborious and fruitful year for Lantmannen. We have completed, in advance, another stage of investment in the Nowa Sól bakery, launching a new production line. This has helped us fully satisfy the expectations of Polish and foreign customers of the Lantmannen Unibake Group. We have recorded a significant growth in volumes of production and sales after a stagnation period in the catering business, caused by the pandemic. With excellent planning and cost discipline, we have limited price rises, caused by the energy crisis and runaway increases of raw material prices, down to the necessary minimum. The bakery industry is struggling with availability issues and the costs of gas and electricity, and we have prepared for even stronger protection in this area from unpredictable factors, especially those resulting from the cruel war waged against our neighbour, Ukraine. We are also glad our work has gained recognition expressed with awards, such as the Forbes Diamond or the Innovation Supplier of the Year distinction received from a key customer.

2.JPGEvangelos Evangelou
President of the Board,

In 2022, the global economy had to face exceptional challenges. The consequences of several years of the pandemic overlapped with far-reaching effects of the war in Ukraine. The limited availability of raw materials and lack of liquidity in the supply chain were felt very acutely by the entire food industry. This situation has shown just how important appropriate planning and proper cooperation with suppliers are. It was only due to earlier purchases of key raw materials that it was possible to ensure full stocking in this regard.
Next year, one should expect the models of functioning of many enterprises to undergo brutal verification some of them could fail. This is natural during every crisis. Moreover, in view of the steadily growing interest rates, interest will be an increasing burden to companies who are already propping up their operating activities with loans. Therefore, in such an unusual period, it is worth betting on stable companies with a proven model of operation and an appropriate base of resources, including financial ones.

3.JPGArtur Węgłowski
Trade Director

2022 has been a very intense year for our company. We changed the name of our brand and the package design. We introduced a new product to the market: Parówki Dobre frankfurters. This offer of Dolina Dobra caused a stir on the market, with its combination of aspects that had been seen as contradictory before: a clean label, sustainable production, and an affordable price. We are glad we have managed to fulfill all our goals, despite the difficult economic situation. The last year has proved just how variable the market situation can be and how difficult it is to foresee its future development. However, what can be confirmed now is the strengthening of the significance of sustainable production of meat and cured meats. The year to come will also mean the development of the consumer patriotism attitude. Customers are more eager to reach for Polish products, to support Polish enterprises. Contrary to what many may expect, the crisis has taught us to choose products more carefully and to overcome previous habits.

4.JPGZbigniew Mojecki
Deputy Business Manager
WSP “Społem”

The year 2022 turned out to be extremely intense and full of challenges. The rapid inflation made consumers do their shopping more carefully, e.g., they are more inclined to choose lower-weight products. For our industry, this year meant extreme market instability as well – not just the hard-to-predict growth of prices but also disrupted continuity of the supply of components necessary for production. We are closing 2022 with success. In spite of the crisis, we have recorded a growth in turnover – both in terms of value and, which is extremely precious, in terms of quantity. This means that even in more difficult times, with a lot of products to choose from, consumers increasingly tend to reach for the traditional, proven ones, with a good composition. In view of the unstable situation, the nearest future is hard to predict for our company and the entire sector. We expect consumers to start optimizing their expenses even more, which will probably affect the market of food products as well, including mayonnaise. Looking into the future, most of all, we are watching the market and the global situation closely. Despite the difficulties arising from the economic situation, we are consistently doing our thing, striving to implement our assumed long-term plans. We have a strategy that has worked so far, so we are steadily continuing it. We will surely focus on the expansion of our offer. As late as November, our product family was joined by Ćwikła z chrzanem (Beetroot with Horseradish), and we plan more new products for the beginning of 2023.

1.JPGMarek Maciejewski
Sales Department Manager

2022 was another year in which we had to face new, hitherto unknown challenges, the beginning of the year related to the receding pandemic and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, did not inspire optimism. The volatility and unpredictability of the export market became even more apparent. The galloping inflation in the second half of 2022 presented us with great challenges. In May 2022, Sertop exhibited at the PLMA fair in Amsterdam, promoting its new products. In exports, 2022 was the year of promoting the latest products from the Sertop portfolio, i.e. processed cheese in slices packed in 130g portions and 90g blocks. We focused on promoting and showing new products, i.e. slices in the extended offer: Golden Emmental, Gouda, Cheddar and new Toast, with ham and the latest product, lactose-free Gouda slices. At the end of 2022, we introduced product line, blocks weighing 90g: Cream, Herbal and Ham. We hope that in the coming year the sale of these products will be equally satisfactory for us.

2.JPGGrzegorz Zuba
Trade Director
ZPH ARGO Sp. z o.o.

The paradigms have changed, this year will be special. In the chaos of rampant inflation, limited access to certain raw materials, growing costs, or changing product prices, any predictions seem as good as divination. But on the other hand, when, if not now, should we think about great things? The market is changing, gone are the old products and the old customers, and especially the old prices. A new hand has begun on the market, which does not happen often. This is an enormous opportunity. One has to prepare well to use it, to have an available product and to become an attractive solution in terms of price. Our company has prepared many interesting solutions, such as the Sour Madness candy and lollipops, combining the elements of emotion, curiosity, astonishment, and surprise. “Take the challenge” – the claim attributed to the Sour Madness brand is the best reflection of the predictions for the upcoming year. We intend to double the sales.

3.JPGMarcin Tarka
Sales Director
Upfield Polska

2022 was an interesting year in the segment of plant-based dairy substitutes. It started with rises forced by inflation, shortage of raw materials, higher costs, to which the natural response was to focus on implementation of the price list with limitation of promotion and marketing. In spite of high variability, the end of the year is encouraging; the availability of raw materials is not that bad, and we are more inclined to engage in promotional activities putting consumers in the focus of our attention. The value of the segment of butter, margarine and mixes exceeded 5 billion, overtaking the coffee category in terms of value. Of course, the growing prices were among the causes – yet today, the category in which Upfield is the global and Polish leader has become a considerable asset, even to such players as Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland, Dino, or Żabka. For 2023, we predict a gradual return to the normal, understood as support to our Business Partners – trade chains – in resale of such cult-status products as Rama, Flora, ProAktiv, or Violife, through implementation of Upfield’s new marketing campaigns. We will surprise the consumers again with new products making the sector develop dynamically, but we will not forget our specialties either: Delma, available in the “Sandwich” variant proving itself in these difficult times, and Kasia, which has long overtaken butter in the baking category and is currently holding the position as leader. Trade chains today aim at the development of private labels, but this is a careless path, as the strength of a well-known brand, such as Rama or Flora, provides mutual benefits in market development. Strong producer brands make it easier for consumers to compare the prices of same-quality products. It is true that consumers today are open to private labels, but trade chains with a far-reaching approach to business will maintain a healthy balance, knowing that it is the producers after all who invest in the development of recognizability of their brands, thus stimulating the general category growth. Of course, we are able to produce a private label as well and everything depends on the price conditions of negotiations. Today, however, private label prices have a limited capability to make this business profitable for trade, so I assume this is a temporary situation.

4.JPGGrzegorz Grabowski
Managing Director
Toruńskie Wódki Gatunkowe

The past year was ... the best year in our career to date. We started working on a new bottle for our main products - vodka under the brand Toruńska, Śliwowica Polska, Hubertówka Leśna. There will definitely be new flavors as part of these brands. We have won several significant awards, including Silver medal for Retman Strong Vodka and Retman Crystal Vodka in San Francisco World Spirit Competition and gold medals in the next edition of Warsaw Spirit Competiton. We have acquired new export customers and we are also developing projects in the Asian direction. It is a long -term effect, but we already see a large increase in interest in Polish alcohols. We are also preparing to expand and enrich the business offer addressed to companies and to develop the project of individual own brands for Poland and clients from abroad, with small volumes, including by introducing personalized packaging. The year 2023 welcomed us with a crazy increase in the prices of dry materials (bottles, labels, closures, collective packaging), a five % increase in excise duty on the domestic market. We have decided to implement projects closer to the client - we create micro and macro brands of local brands with the participation of components and recipes from various parts of Poland and the world.

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