Bulgarian government moves to boost bread quality

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bulgaria

A move to introduce standards in bread manufacturer in Bulgaria will boost bread quality, claims the Bulgarian agriculture ministry.

The agriculture minister Miroslav Naydenov said that an expert council will initiate work this week on three state standards for three types of bread – white, brown, and the local variety "Dobrudzha", with a definition of ingredients to be outlined, reported the Sofia News Agency.

Standards are also proposed for the raw materials used in bread manufacture, said the media outlet.

The whole chain of bread production in Bulgaria from grain facilities to flour millers to producers is due to come under scrutiny due to a reported ‘shadow’ sector, claims the article.

Indeed, the Chamber of Industrial Bread Producers and Confectioners in Bulgaria said that its goal is to ensure that every Bulgarian bread producer and confectioner has a VAT registration, regardless of the scale of their business, in order to curb illegal practices in the industry.

It said that it has submitted proposals to the Agriculture and Food Ministry including a requirement that each bread producer establish an on-line link with the national revenue agency.

Bulgarian bread is the cheapest in Europe, 73 per cent below the average price on the continent. But the industry representatives dismissed speculation that Bulgarian-made bread is of low quality and they accused the media of unfair and ill-intentioned reporting which has scared consumers and undermined their confidence.

Tests in Vienna have shown that the quality of Bulgarian bread is excellent, the Chamber added.

Miroslav Naydenov said that the Bulgarian state standard (BDS) for bread will be voluntary but added that its use on a brand owner’s label will ensure it stands out as a quality product. Bulgarian meat producers are said to be working on a project for a state standard for meat products, while a BDS for yogurt has already been introduced

A study published in the journal Food Policy last October detailed improvements in food quality standards in Balkan countries following EU membership. The report found that the opening of trade routes and increased competition had led to improved quality in food industry practices in the region.

And the research noted that Bulgaria had performed well in exports of consumer-ready foods and horticultural products since entering the EU in 2007.

Leading players in the Bulgarian bakery and cereals market are Mlin - 97 AD and JVL Slatina.

According to a Datamonitor report, the market for bakery and cereals in Bulgaria increased at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9 per cent between 2004 and 2009. The bread and rolls category led the bakery and cereals market there, accounting for a share of 80.7 per cent.

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