Frozen veg nudge cans out

Related tags Eastern europe

Traditionally eastern Europe has tended towards the consumption of
canned vegetables as a source of fresh foods during the long and
often harsh winters. However, frozen and chilled vegetables are
gaining increasing popularity in the region, as this week's product
launches from Mintel show.

Across eastern Europe the trend towards frozen vegetables can be clearly seen as the canning industry begins to feel the pinch. In recent years increasing number of canning facilities have succumbed, victims of the growing use of frozen vegetables. Although frozen vegetables are more expensive, growing incomes in the region and the desire to enjoy fresh foods and convenience is continuing to contribute to the expanse of this sector.

"There is currently a trend in Eastern Europe favouring the consumption of frozen processed vegetables over their canned counterparts,"​ said Francisco Redruello, market analyst with Euromonitor​. "This trend, however, has to be put in context. Sales of canned vegetables in this region are far larger. Euromonitor estimates that they will reach $1042.3 million by the end of 2004 - over three times as much as the $364 million expected for frozen processed vegetables. Consumption per capita of frozen vegetables in 2004 is estimated at $1.1, a figure much lower than the $6.1 estimated for per capita consumption of canned vegetables."

Redruello went on to explain that sales of frozen processed vegetables are still in their incipient phase in Eastern Europe. This is because frozen vegetables are far more expensive to transport and to conserve. However, middle class eastern European are increasingly plumping for them in an effort to capitalise on the larger portion of vitamins that frozen vegetables are said to contain.

"This applies especially to countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia, where health-conscious consumers are pushing up the sales of these products,"​ Redruello added. "Currently Bulgaria has one of the highest per capita consumption of the region, $1.8, and most supermarkets stock a wide range of frozen vegetables. We expect a growth of 15 per cent in value in 2004 in this country."

Meanwhile, in Hungary, Euromonitor says that leading manufacturers such as Bonduelle are taking strategic steps to increase their presence in frozen processed vegetables, both by investing in new product developments and by pushing for further shelf space in the retail channel. In Slovakia, on the other hand, frozen processed vegetables are benefiting from new lines offering a wider range of combinations. Euromonitor estimates a growth in value in this country of almost 20 per cent in 2004.

The product launches start off in Poland where Hortex is launching Warzywa na Patelnie z Bazylia I Tymiankiem Mix, a blend of selected frozen vegetables. An extension to an existing range, the product is packaged in a flexible plastic bag that contains 450 grams of vegetables and is expected to retail for €0.64. It contains prepared carrot, courgette, flat beans, red pepper and is flavoured with a variety of herbs and spices that are said to make the mix ideal for pan frying.

Staying in Poland, French company Bonduelle is launching two new vegetable-based lines. The first is Kalafior Romanesco Vegetables. Packaged in a standard plastic bag, the product contains 400 grams of Romanesco cauliflower that will retail for €0.90 and is also an addition to an existing product line. Romanesco cauliflower is made up a group of tightly packaged florets that form an apple-shape and it is said to have a nutty flavour. Originally from Italy it is slowly becoming more and more popular all over Europe.

The second Bonduelle launch is Szpinak w Lisciah, a leaf spinach that comes frozen. Packaged in a boarded box, it contains 450 grams of spinach and will retail for around €1.29. The box comes with three individually-wrapped portions, designed to meet individual meal requirements.

In Russia Ocean Trading Company is launching Laminaria with Mushroom & Sesame onto the market this month. A brand new product, it comes in a boarded box containing 180 gram of this seaweed delicacy that retails at €0.52. The product is claimed by the manufacturers to have no vinegar or preservatives and is also said to be naturally rich in minerals, iodine and vitamins.

Although frozen vegetables are on the rise, canned still remains popular. Staying in Russia Polgrunt is launching canned Soya in Tomato Sauce. Containing 400 grams of soya beans in a tomato paste-based sauce, the product will retail for €1.01. It contains natural spices as well as additives and sodium glutamate.

This range of packaged vegetables is part of a selection from Mintel's Global New Product Database​.

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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