Spreads marketed as healthy snack options

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Related tags: Cheese

Savoury spreads are growing in variety as snack alternatives become
increasingly popular in Central and Eastern Europe. And looking at
the region's latest launches for this category it is clear that
manufacturers are targeting products for nutritional value and
added flavour.

Although the number of launches in this category is growing, consumption of spreadable processed cheese in Eastern Europe is underdeveloped, with retail sales expected to reach $825 million by the end of 2004, according to Euromonitor's estimates.

"This figure represents a consumption per capita of only $2.4 compared to $7.7 in Western Europe,"​ said Euromonitor's Francisco Redruello. "The low level of sales for these products is a result of fierce competition from artisanal soft cheese, which is perceived as healthier and more affordable. However, economic growth, strong investment in new development and an incipient middle class following Western habits is prompting a rapid growth of these products. We expect an increase of over 12 per cent in retail sales for 2004, a figure reflecting the potential of growth for spreadable processed cheese in this region."

Russia and Poland are the largest markets, with retail sales of $245 million $135 million respectively, according to Euromonitor's estimates. We expect growth of 5 per cent in retail sales in the Russian market - quite a modest performance compared with the rest of the region. Sales of spreadable processed in Russia are still constrained by low attention of manufacturers to packaging, low differentiation between brands and poor quality among the lines currently available.

By contrast, Euromonitor expects a growth of over 16 per cent in retail value for the Polish market, where leading manufacturer Hochland is investing heavily in advertising and launching more premium lines. Other important markets showing dynamic growth are Hungary and Slovakia, with combined sales of $130 million in 2004, according to Euromonitor's estimates.

The growth of spreadable processed cheese in Slovakia is being driven by the strong performance of local brands, far more affordable than imported ones and often considered of higher quality. Euromonitor expects a growth of 12 per cent in retail value within the Hungarian market. Recently-launched lines in tub format are selling quite well, especially among younger professionals seeking products in a more convenient packaging.

The product launches for this category represent both the traditional cheese spreads, which are being revamped with the addition of interesting flavours and ingredients, as well as the growing market for dairy alternative spreads, represented by vegetable oil based products. This is also indicative of the growing sophistication of the market.

Hungary sees the launch of LM Produktions IIndiánbabos Zöldségkrém Spread under the Bio K organic foods label. Packaged in 125 gram PET tubs, the product is expected to retail at €1.70. This is a vegetable and cream spread, comprising carrots, kidney beans, combflower oil, onion, spices and no additives or preservatives.

Also in Hungary, Kraft foods is launching Spunit al Proscuitto spread. This is a new formulation that comes in a two pack format containing two individual portions in metal cans, costing €3.34 for 168 grams. This imported sandwich spread contains cooked ham, potato powder, concentrated milk and sunflower oil.

In Russia Bel is launching Cheese and Mushroom Spread under the Veselaya Burenka label. The new product is again packaged in plastic tub, which contains 150 grams of spread that is expected to retail for €0.71. The range is also available in cream cheese with ham and paprika and basic ingredients include hard cheese, low-fat milk, emulsifiers and salt.

Also in Russia OAO MC3 Koshkinskiy is launching Soya Mayonnaise under the Albella label. It will retail at €0.32 for a 250 gram plast tub, sealed with an aluminium foil. This soya-based mayonnaise is claimed to be suitable for diabetics and also contains no cholesterol. It is also vegetarian and free from GMO ingredients.

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

Related topics: Ingredients

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