Frozen Bakery retail value (RSP) in Eastern Europe is forecast to rise around 28% by 2016 to €80.2m, according to data from Euromonitor.
Rusnė Naujokaitytė, Euromonitor country research manager, told BakeryAndSnacks.com: “Research suggests that it is worth investing in frozen bakery in East Europe, but the companies should first of all analyse different factors.”
“Countries economic development is the most important factor for frozen bakery,” she said.
Where opportunities lie
According to Naujokaitytė larger developed countries, such as Poland and Croatia, where consumers are aware of frozen bakery and sales are higher present better prospects.
“The most favourable markets to invest for frozen bakery products are: Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, Poland and Czech Republic,” she said.
In these markets, living standards are higher, retail channels are developed and most females are working and therefore have no time to bake at home, she said.
“Although a minus can be that the market is already saturated and can be hard to get through the market leaders,” she added.
The market leader in Eastern Europe the Levada Group, followed closely by Bella Bulgaria, according to Euromonitor figures.
Naujokaitytė said other perspective markets for frozen bakery are countries with high baked goods consumption, such as Serbia, Macedonia, and Hungary.
Markets to avoid
However, opportunities in some countries, like Belarus, Hungary and Slovenia, may be limited as bread consumption is in decline as new healthier options such as bread substitutes are preferred, she said.
“Less developed Eastern European countries with not much developed retailing chains should be avoided because of small spaces and lack of refrigerating equipment,” she added.
She gave Russia, Ukraine and Caucasus countries as examples.
Evaluate the market
Naujokaitytė said manufactuers should first assess the market to gauge consumer preferences.
“It is always good to evaluate consumer habits and not to be launching white bread in traditional dark/black/rye bread countries (e.g. Baltics, Belarus, Russia).”
She said that local companies currently dominate the Easter Europe frozen bakery sector.
“Among top five biggest frozen bakery companies in East Europe there are no international companies. The only one appearing at rank no 7 is Nowaco International A/S,” she said.
According to Naujokaitytė, local companies prosper because they know what type of bakery their consumers like.
“Country knowledge is very valuable in such specific sector like bakery, when products vary from country to country,” she said.
Who can capitalise?
Naujokaitytė said that private label firms were best placed to capitalise as growth is expected for private label products in the region.
She added that large multinational manufacturers were always in good position, because they have big marketing budgets.
“Multinationals would be strong if they manage to launch the international bread and bakery types which are consumed in most of Europe, such as Italian breads, buns and croissants,” she said.
Naujokaitytė also spoke about the growing trend in a video available here.