Less imported products of higher quality

By: trademagazin Date: 2007. 04. 25. 08:00

The proportion of imported products on the shelves of food stores did not increase last year, but quality was better than before.. However, manufacturers and retailers do not seem to agree on this point. Easter is almost as important a season for the Hungarian meat processing industry as Christmas. The quantity of smoked ham and meat sold during the two months around Easter is almost equal to the quantity sold during the rest of the year. The proportion of imported products had been 30 per cent last Easter, whereas it was only 20 per cent this April. According to the Meat Association, its members had a more successful season this year than a year ago. The total quantity sold around Easter was 6000 tons, but member companies sold a hundred tons more, than last year. Campaigns promoting reliable quality Hungarian products before Easter seem to have worked.. The majority of imported meat products are sausages reflecting German taste. Hungary needs to import garden Hungaricums. More onions, garlic, tomatoes and carrots are imported than exported. Cheaper Chinese, Moroccan and Spanish products are displacing Hungarian vegetables. Béla Mártonffy director of the Alliance of Hungarian Vegetable and Fruit Council has told us that the term “Hungarian early vegetable” had become extinct. Hungarian farmers cannot compete with products from the Mediterranean countries. The quality of these has improved, although their price has also gone up. The milk industry is one of those worst effected by imports. According to data from the Milk Products Council, 40 per cent of products in stores are imported. Imports of both milk and cream are growing dynamically, with an increase of 30 per cent last year. Only a minor part of imported products belong to the premium category. According to data from the National Association of Food Processing Companies, production grew by 0,7 per cent last year, but revenues fell by 1,8 per cent. Total revenues generated by the industry are nearly HUF two thousand billion. While the Hungarian food industry had a 92 per cent market share in domestic sales four years ago, this share has fallen below 80 per cent by 2006. The fact that imports did not increase last year is regarded as a po­sitive development. Specialisation is the current trend among large multinational companies, with production of certain products being relocated. .As a result of the food safety inspection campaigns completed recently, importers and distributors are now more careful with cheap products. Private labels are still on the advance, however. It is a basic policy of the Coop chain to sell domestic products primarily. The proportion of imported products is only 10 per cent in their stores. In Penny Market stores, the ratio of domestic products to imports is 80:20.

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