23/06/2022 – Investment / Polish / Norbert Bak / Trade / Poland / THAIFEX Anuga Asia / Bangkok

Poland explores huge F&B potential in Thailand

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Speaking from Poland’s National Pavilion at the recently held THAIFEX Anuga Asia – the region’s largest international F&B industry expo, and the first major show to return as an in-person event post-pandemic – Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH)’s Bangkok Bureau Chief, Norbert Bak, speaks to Food & Beverage Networker’s Sarah Pursey about the enormous potential for further strengthening trade activity between Poland and Thailand following a record year in 2021.

 

Despite the backdrop of a highly turbulent year and the myriad challenges thrown up by Covid-19, trade between Poland and Thailand hit an all-time high in 2021, while this year marks the 50th anniversary of Polish-Thai diplomatic relations. Within this context, it is no wonder why Norbert Bak – Head of the Polish Investment & Trade Agency (PAIH)’s Bangkok Office – is buoyant about the prospects for Polish food & beverage products penetrating and strengthening their position in Thailand’s flourishing F&B market.

PAIH, the government agency that Mr Bak represents, supports both the foreign expansion of Polish businesses and the inflow of FDI into Poland. The Agency also aims to boost Polish exports, by supporting national players who are seeking to do business in Thailand, while simultaneously assisting Thai importers and distributors who are on the look-out for high-quality Polish products in all categories. 

In line with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s strategy to promote Polish agri-food products on foreign markets, the country’s National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR) organised a Polish national stand under the slogan ‘Poland tastes good’. Food & Beverage Networker’s Editor, Sarah Pursey, caught up with Mr Bak to learn more regarding the opportunities he identifies as well as finding out more about the various Polish companies that accompanied PAIH to Bangkok this year in order to promote their products.

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Mr Bak with H.E. Waldemar Dubaniowski – Ambassador of Poland for Thailand (centre-right) – and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency team.

Q. What has been your experience of THAFEX Anuga Asia 2022?

Norbert Bak: “It’s been amazing. It’s the first show in two years, so we’re very excited to finally have some face-to-face meetings; to help companies meet with importers and buyers from Thailand and the wider region. It’s very exciting for everyone – online meetings have a limited value, but I think that face-to-face meetings are much more important.

“We see a huge amount of potential, so it's been very exciting to have the Poland National Pavilion at THAIFEX Anuga Asia. Together with the National Support Center for Agriculture from Poland, we already see a good outcome of this year’s event and we are looking forward to the next edition of the show."

 

Q. I understand your Agency has some exciting news to share regarding a recently signed agreement? Could you reveal more?

“During the event, we signed an MoU with the Department of International Promotion (DITP), which is part of the Ministry of Commerce in Thailand. It’s a very important agreement for us – we’ve been working on it for quite some time, and since our agencies are quite similar to each other, we decided to formalise that relationship.”


Q. What does the agreement mean for the two agencies? What kind of activities will you be embarking on together? 

“There are many synergies between the two organisations. So, we hold events together – just the fact that we are here now is important. And likewise, DITP is quite active in Poland.” 

Undoubtedly, the new MoU – signed by Mr Krzysztof Drynda, President of PAIH, and Mr Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, Director General of DITP, on 23 May – will lead to deeper trade and investment co-operation between Poland and Thailand.

“This year actually marks the 50th anniversary of Poland-Thailand’s diplomatic relationship. And it just so happens that last year the trade between the two countries was actually at its highest ever level – it was the first time that such trade has exceeded US$1.5 billion. Exports from Poland to Thailand, as well as from Thailand to Poland, have both reached historically high levels. So, it’s really been perfect timing for all of this to come together.”

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H.E. Waldemar Dubaniowski - Ambassador of Poland for Thailand (second left) and Mr Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, Director General of DITP (centre) at the signing of an MoU for deeper trade and investment co-operation between Poland and Thailand

Q. What kind of products are you showcasing at THAIFEX Anuga Asia? 

“As you can see, we have a wide selection of products from 10 suppliers in Poland. We have biscuits, confectionery, and healthy snacks. We have semi-products, which are obviously important for Thailand as the country is a big producer of food. We also have salmon, meats, and Polish pasta. Then there is caviar – this company [Antonius] is actually the second biggest producer of caviar in the world, today accounting for more than 10 per cent of global production. 

“There’s quite a variety of products on display, but we did our homework to ensure the products we brought with us to the event actually match Thai needs, so we’re hopeful this is what the Thai buyers are looking for.”

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Poland: A leading agri-food producer

Poland is one of the leading producers of agricultural crops and food products – not only within the EU, but also across the world.

In particular, Poland boasts a rich tradition in meat production. Since 2014, Poland has been the EU’s largest producer of poultry meat. The country is also well known for the production of traditional cold meats such as sausages (including Poland’s famous kabanos sausages), ham, smoked pork loins, bacon and pates. 

Likewise, supported by a world-class technology park, Poland’s dairy industry is currently booming. Indeed, the country is the sixth largest producer of cheese and curds in the world today, and the fifth largest in the EU.  

Within the fruit and veg segment, apples are undoubtedly one of the country’s most well known export commodities, with important products including concentrated apple juice as well as high-quality fruit and veg juices. Poland is also a leading European producer of frozen fruit and vegetables.

Within the grain mill products segment, in addition to traditional products, the Polish baking industry offers bread with an extended shelf life; toast bread and crispbread; burger buns and hotdog buns; as well as special semi-finished products for home-baking, deep-frozen bread for the foodservice sector, and more besides. Polish pasta products are also highly sought after the world over. 

Elsewhere, Poland is the EU’s sixth largest honey producer, while Polish confectionery products are today present in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Tapping into the growing movement for healthier, more natural produce, Poland also continues to strengthen its presence in the organic food segment. With a total surface area of 500,000 ha used for organic farming (2019 figures), Poland ranks ninth amongst EU member states and 19th in the world, with cereal crops accounting for the lion’s share of that land coverage. Poland ranks seventh EU-wide in terms of the number of registered organic farmers, with 20,000 organic business operators in total nation-wide.

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Meet the brands

Below is a rundown of the companies and products showcased at Poland’s national pavilion as part of this year’s THAIFEX Anuga Asia. 

ANTONIUS CAVIAR – Gosławice Fish Farm in Konin has been breeding fish for over half a century. Through the gradual development of its sturgeon-breeding activities, the Farm has become the largest in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Under the ANTONIUS brand, the company today produces two varieties. Siberian Caviar (from Siberian sturgeon) is characterised by “an intense aroma that will satisfy the most demanding caviar gourmet”, while Oscietra Caviar (from the Russian sturgeon) is the second most expensive caviar behind that from the beluga, and boasts “a unique, saturated taste with a slight nutty note”.  https://antoniuscaviar.com

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Bakalland S.A. – One of the largest food companies in Poland, Bakalland S.A. is a market leader in the dried fruit and nuts, and cereal bar categories. With over 25 years of experience, the company today boasts 200 brands and 300 private labels across the wide segment of breakfast products, and exports to almost 50 countries worldwide.   https://bakalland.com

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BARTEX – Established in 1995, BARTEX is specialised in the production of high-quality powdered milk preparations. Its product portfolio includes milk powder, protein concentrate, permeat, lactose, yoghurt powder, creamer, casein and caseinates, cheese/analogue cheese, butter and AMF.  www.bart-ex.pl

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Bio Poland – Bio Poland’s products (juice, aronia, honey and frozen veg) are made entirely from fruit and vegetables grown on Polish ecological plantations, and are fully certified organic and natural, containing no sugar, preservatives or artificial additives. Regarding exports, the company has a particular emphasis on Asian and American markets. https://thinkhealthy.bio

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BOGUTTI – A family-owned Polish company specialising in the production of high-quality cookies and fudge, Bogutti’s brands include La Gustosa, Tweett, Choco Gutti, ChocoFit, Cookies in American Style, Next and Free (no added sugar). Kosher- and halal-certified, Bogutti’s products are sold worldwide, with exports today accounting for around 60 per cent of sales by value. https://bogutti.com/en

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COLIAN HOLDING – A corporate group with Polish capital in the confectionery market, Colian specialises in the production, distribution and sale of such foods (alongside soft drinks and spices). Colian’s brands include Goplana cocoa bars, Grześki chocolate covered wafers, Jeżyki biscuits, Solidarnść pralines, the iconic Polish sweets brand Naleczoska Plum, Elizabeth Shaw chocolates, and Lily O’Brien’s chocolates.  https://colian.com

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CONTIMAX – Contimax’s offer comprises a portfolio of over 150 products – from smoked fish (mackerel and salmon), to marinated fish (herring), ready-to-eat items (dumplings, salads ‘to go’, jelly), canned goods (mackerel, salmon, herring, sprat, salads, and pates), ready meals, and private label produce. http://www.contimax.pl

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MASPEX – Today one of the largest food product companies in Central and Eastern Europe, MASPEX leads the market in an array of product categories, including juices, nectars, non-carbonated soft drinks, pasta, jams, ketchups and sauces. Under leading brands such as Tymbark, Kubuś, Lubella, Łowicz, Krakus, Kotlin, Puchatek, Ekland, DecoMorreno, Cremona, La Festa and Plusssz, the company’s products are today exported to over 60 countries worldwide.  https://maspex.com/en

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MIR-KAR – Established in 1998, MIR-KAR’s meat processing plant initially focused on pork purchase and slaughter, thereafter extending to meat cutting, and since 2010 has added freezing and storing services of meat products, fruits and vegetables. Built in 2015, a new 4,500-pallet capacity cold store building with a meat packing line allows the firm to prepare final products into cartons, while an integrated computer system ensures full traceability. MIR-KAR works with companies in the EU, Eastern Europe, America, Africa and Asia. https://mir-kar.pl

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NEWTRITION – Encompassing snacks, sweets and small meals, Newtrition’s products – under the ‘Feel Fit’ brand – stand out due to their healthy values, delicious taste and easy consumption. With a focus on products that are rich in protein and fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, Feel Fit eliminates white sugar, unhealthy fats, preservatives and artificial additives. Feel Fit products – spanning protein pastes, protein quick meals, protein nuts, wake-up protein granola, protein praline, and protein and energy bars. http://feel-fit.pl

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TABIT – The Polish manufacturer of high-quality organic pasta brand Bartolini, TABIT was founded over three decades ago and today sells its products both domestically as well as exporting to the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK and Israel. Quality is assured by the adoption of HACCP system, ISO 9001 certification, and organic food certification body AgroBioTest.  https://bartolini.com.pl

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For more details on the support and assistance that the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH Bangkok) provides to Polish businesses and Thai importers/distributors, go to: www.paih.gov.pl/en

THAIFEX Anuga Asia returns to Bangkok from 23–27 May 2023. For more details on the show, including early-bird rates, go to: https://thaifex-anuga.com/en

Latest issue – Vol 3/22
– Innovation focus
– Thaifex-Anuga 2022 Insights
– A brave new world of work – Working life redefined
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