Thursday, 6 January 2022

Croatian Wellness Shots Succeed at Home, Foreign Markets Targetted

January the 6th, 2022 - Croatian wellness shots made by the company Green and Organic have been doing very well right here on the domestic market for four years now, and now they're eyeing the world beyond the borders of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, these Croatian wellness shots, small organic juices designed to boost human immunity, based on fruits and spices, have successfully conquered the domestic market. Behind this project lies a family story, four flavours are on offer, and their products are present across more than 100 outlets throughout Croatia.

“At the same moment in which I was thinking about changing jobs, I decided to leave a secure corporate job and embark on an entrepreneurial venture for the first time. Although it wasn't at all easy at the beginning, we started as a family to produce organic chokeberry juice that we grow in our own fields. Soon after founding my company, I realised that the competition is actually quite high and that it isn't easy at all to stand out in the market. At the time, almost everyone had chokeberry and we struggled a lot until we managed to put our juices on the shelves of the first stores. After a lot of research and thoughts about what to change, we decided to introduce a new product that wasn't yet present on the Croatian market,'' recalled Hermina Skular, the woman behind these Croatian wellness shots.

Only top quality raw materials are used

As she explained, they wanted to make juices with top-quality raw materials, without additives and sugar, which can be drunk by adults and children, and at the same time supply them with vitamins and strengthen their overall immunity.

''Because we love spices ourselves, we decided to make a combination of organic fruit juices with spices. These Croatian wellness shots are small 75 ml juices that literally fit in your pocket and can be taken everywhere with you. The idea was that they could be taken to work, on a trip and be carried along to various sporting activities. First we offered shots with turmeric and ginger, and then we added cinnamon and matcha. Ginger is the most popular, while the children love cinnamon,'' Skular revealed.

Since the beginning of their business story, their focus has been on specialised health food stores and organic products, so it isn't surprising that they are on the shelves of bio & bio and the like, they're also present in cafes and in retail chains such as Konzum.

The wellness shot production itself is located in neighbouring Slovenia, while the chokeberry juice is produced here in Croatia and has its own cultivation, and the rest of the necessary ingredients are procured from abroad.

''If necessary, we cooperate with domestic companies, and we try to work with small enterprises on various projects because we try to stick together and help each other. Given the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, I can say that the past year has been very successful.

We're satisfied with our sales results because it has been shown that our customers, especially now, need something to strengthen their immunity, and that healthy juices are a great choice. Until last year, we offered shots in three flavours - ginger, turmeric and cinnamon, and last year we came out with a new product, a matcha shot,'' noted Skular.

Although their current business is based here in Croatia, they plan to place their products on foreign markets as well. "Since we opened the company, we've been thinking about changes and new products, listening to customer needs and monitoring the market situation. Based on that, we're designing some new flavours. The technologist of the food technology industry has the final say on the exact ''recipe'', and we can suggest a taste. This is one of our favourite parts when designing a new product.

We have a lot of plans, and we hope that some of them will come true in the year ahead. We'll try again to come up with something that is not yet present here on the Croatian market, and we hope that it could be very well accepted by customers,'' concluded Skular.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Zagreb Company Take Natural Juice Exceeds Expected Results

September the 6th, 2021 - The Zagreb company Take Natural Juice started out as a concept store after a family decided to adopt a more healthy way of life a decade ago. It has since caught the interest of many and exceeded its previously expected results.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, health, they say, is the greatest wealth one can have, and nutrition is an important part of our daily lives that allows us to have better health and an easier time in general, both physically and mentally.

The Zagreb company Take Natural Juice is also producing a healthier alternative to fruit juices, and a conversation with the owner Sanja Dajak Matanovic revealed the fact that everything started out with a family that deciced to switch to a more healthy lifestyle more than ten years ago.

It started with the opening of a concept store with a professional kitchen in which these juices were produced, and after receiving good feedback from their customers, the whole concept took on new proportions and became a business that the whole family is very proud of.

Health and improving the quality of life were, therefore, the main motives for starting the business behind the Zagreb company Take Natural Juice.

“We offer cold-pressed juices without the addition of sugar, artificial sweeteners, water, colour enhancers, preservatives and a kind of chemistry in general. We currently offer six types of standardised cold-pressed juices (fresh and short-term pasteurised), two types of lemonades, three types of wellness shooters and four types of smoothies,'' explained Dajak Matanovic.

Given that this business story exceeded their expected results, investments were a logical sequence of activities, and although they had inquiries about the sale of shares in the company, nothing like that is in their focus at the moment. An investment of 10,000 euros was spent on equipping a professional kitchen, as well as on obtaining basic professional furniture and machinery. According to Dajak Matanovic, the plan is to withdraw funds from EU funds in the next step.

“Our juices are all cold pressed from first class vegetables and fruits and retain up to 25 percent of their fiber. Our fresh juices have a shelf life of five days, which is achieved by perfect microbiology and extreme caution and hygienic perfectionism in the production process. The pasteurised juices are processed by the method of fast pasteurisation (HTST) which allows a shelf life of up to two months, depending on the glass or plastic packaging, but the juices still belong to the fresh product category,'' said the owner of the Zagreb company Take Natural Juice.

All of the conditions that need to be met in order for their juices to be called healthy are, as he pointed out, the challenges they face in production. Each step in production takes months of reading, researching and searching for options for machines and production means. While difficult, they're successfully coping with this.

Most of their raw materials come from domestic producers and distributors, but depending on the season and what is available, they sometimes do go beyond the borders of Croatia to get their hands on good raw materials.

“There's no small supplier or family farm that could supply us with a sufficient amount of necessary raw materials all year round, but we have a successful and long cooperation with some of them. Organic chokeberry, for example, comes from Croatia all year round, it's more or less the same for apples too, but the origin of the oranges we use depends on the season, and for example, pineapple, ginger and similar foods, which aren't grown in our climate, are regularly imported.

We use first class vegetables and fruits in our production, and any visible damage to any of it is physically removed. Only completely healthy foods enter the juices,'' added Dajak Matanovic.

Their entire production is currently located in Zagreb, in the western part of the city, and their production facilities extend in size to 120 square metres. They have no stocks or long-term storage, they're very flexible and they have adapted their team to that, which varies from 5 to 10 people per shift, depending on the size of their orders.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Istrian Gin Takes Home Gold Medal at 2021 World Spirits Award

August the 9th, 2021 - Istrian products continue to wow the international community, and despite olive oil definitely being the most well known item from this beautiful region of Croatia, Istrian gin is gaining on it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Aura distillery and the products of the Sirotic family have been winning first places and prizes in almost all of the competitions in which they participate, and the last big recognition in a row came for Karbun gin at the world competition "World Spirits Award 2021", where this gorgeous Istrian gin took home gold.

In addition to this gold medal, the Istrian gin from this same family called ''Navy Strength'' won the Master Medal at ''The Spirits Business Gin Masters 2021'', the recognition that only one single product receives, which is rated by all of the judges in the competition for points to win the gold medal. Karbun Navy Strength also won a gold medal at the "World Spirits Trophy 2021" competition.

“It's a great success to be able to win such valuable prizes among international gins. I worked on our gin for a long time, learning and trying out different variants of production and combinations of spices, until I was completely satisfied with the results. This recognition is a confirmation that I've gone down the right path,'' pointed out Misel Sirotic, the owner and director of Aura.

The Aura distillery is not only excellent at producing Istrian gins, their Teranino also took home a gold medal at the World Spirits Trophy 2021.

According to Sirotic, the secret of his family distillery lies in the effort and skill they have worked on and nurtured for years, the whole family participates in the work, and all of their successes so far are the result of constant work, investment, training and creating original production methods that their appreciative audience recognises. Today, they offer 25 types of liqueurs and brandies and four types of Istrian gin, and they also produce jams.

You can find their products in specialised wine shops and in Aura's stores in Buzet, Novigrad, Porec, Motovun, Hum, Groznjan, Vrbnik, Rovinj, and outside of Istria in Split and Rijeka.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Croatian Juicy Drinks to Take on Challenging American Market

June the 2nd, 2021 - The popular Croatian Juicy drinks are a common sight throughout Croatia, but could they manage to crack the demanding American market? That seems to be the direction the management of that company wants to take.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the largest Croatian juice producer, Stanic Beverages, has announced its entry into the US market through an acquisition.

Over recent days, American congressmen John Robert Moolenaar and Robert Aderholt visited the Croatian Juicy drinks factory in Kresevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a return visit and the continuation of friendly relations between the owner of the Stanic Group, Svjetlan Stanic, who visited the American Congress last year, and American congressmen. As they stated, they are discussing the appearance of these popular Croatian drinks over on the American market.

A serious strategy for entering the American market

The goal of the congressman's arrival at the Juicy factory, which is owned by the Croatian company Stanic Beverages, is to continue the talks that began at a gathering last year.

"For the last six years, Stanic Beverages has focused a large part of its resources on strengthening its export strategy. Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region are still our main markets, but we're aware that there can be no strong step forward when it comes to increasing production without entering new markets. We first turned to the Middle East as a lucrative region due to the large consumption of soft drinks there and achieved excellent results through our partners there. Then we started to strengthen our export efforts towards the European market, but we're aware of the competition and regulations that protect European brands.

We can see new potential in an appearance being made on the American market, which is the result of the continuation of talks with American congressmen and that opens up a new perspective. In the past, we've had several offers to export Croatian Juicy drinks to the USA, but it has always been a matter of specific retail outlets of an ethnic character, ie a market that is oriented exclusively to Croatian immigrants to the USA. This isn't our strategy, Juicy is an international brand that has achieved success in many foreign markets so far, and that's why we think the time has come to come up with a serious strategy for entering the American market. From conversations with American congressmen, we concluded that the most logical strategy would be to acquire a local medium-capacity factory that could produce Juicy juices for their market. In that way, we'd manage to avoid numerous logistical and regulatory challenges,'' emphasised Svjetlan Stanic, the owner and President of the Management Board of the Stanic Group.

The idea of ​​buying a local factory

According to the company, Stanic Beverages' export strategy focuses on the overall market of a certain country, the company doesn't see export growth through specialised niches in large markets such as the Croatian emigrant community in the US, but always sees what the full potential could instead be.

"Juicy is a modern brand, it follows global trends with an emphasis placed on leading a healthy lifestyle, it understands the needs of the global consumer and addresses them," they say. The American congressmen also see the brand’s international name as a big advantage in performing in the American market because there is no language barrier.

Stanic Beverages is part of the Stanic Group and also the largest juice producer in Croatia, which owns two factories. One factory is located in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, more precisely in Kresevo, while the other factory is in Jastrebarsko here in Croatia. The total capacity of both factories is 150 million litres, which isn't enough for the needs of the American market, and accordingly the Management of Stanic Beverages sees the support of American congressmen as a key step in realising the idea of ​​buying a local factory.

More than a month ago, Stanic Beverages announced that they had invested 10.6 million kuna in the modernisation of the Croatian Juicy drinks production plant in Kresevo ​​in order to raise the quality of production according to the highest European and international standards. They also pointed out that they plan to produce 35 million litres of juice at the same location (last year they produced 28.2 million litres), announcing ambitious plans and new distributors, which they hope will significantly increase their exports.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Croatian Elderflower Juice from Podravina Family Wins Awards in London

May the 15th, 2021 - Croatian elderflower juice produced by a family business from Legrad in Podravina has been earning awards and recognition in London for years now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Croatian elderflower juice from Podravina has been receiving awards from London at the Great Taste competition for some time now. The story of the Kapronca business begins back in 2012 when the family opened the Pavlic Senka family farm and entered the market with elderflower syrup made according to an old family recipe.

''After many blind tastings and small adjustments of my mother's recipe, we decided we were ready for the first big harvest, but we quickly learned that making a small amount of elderflower syrup which ends up excellent isn't the same as making a large amount of it, and we had to throw out the first lot.

After five years of gathering more and more experience and engaging in continuous improvement of our production process, we opened the Imanje Kapronca family business, undertook a complete redesign and rebranding, introduced two new flavours of raspberry and mint and were ready for the first application to Great Taste with our elderflower syrup.

The London Awards are our greatest pride, especially when you know how strict the criteria are and what details professional Great Taste tasters are able to recognise. That's why it is considered one of the most prestigious awards, the so-called Oscar's in the world of food and drink.

Last year, about 12,800 products from 106 countries were registered, and the competition is extremely strong because almost all of them are "craft" products from smaller manufacturers such as us. We've also won the title of Great Taste manufacturer JER, and since 2017 we've been winning Great Taste stars for our Kapronca products,'' revealed Zvonimir Pavlic, the owner of the estate.

Today, they have six products, juice products without additives, and with raspberry, mint and elderflower, they use only sugar and citric acid.

The production is, as stated, located in Legrad, which is a fifteen-minute drive from Koprivnica (Kapronca is the Hungarian name for Koprivnica), and their current capacity is 2,000 bottles of syrup or 3,000 bottles of juice per day. Last year, they launched a new item - ready-made juice in glass bottles of 290 millilitres.

As well as in stores, they also receive online orders on their Facebook and Instagram pages, and at the level of the year, they recorded revenue growth of about 35 per cent when compared to 2019.

“We're currently working with a limited number of caterers, which is to be expected because we introduced a new product for the catering and hospitality sector at a time of the greatest uncertainty and when nothing was in operation for months. Of the more famous ones, we can mention the burger chain of the Submarine burger restaurant, with which we've been cooperating since our very first bottle of ready-made juice.

We have the most partners in Zagreb, and from the hotel chains, we've contracted cooperation with Jadran Crikvenica, Maistra and Arena and others. Together with our distributor Sana delicacies, we're actively working on gaining cooperation with other hotels and larger camps, but everyone is still cautious and waiting for the outcome of the situation with the pandemic,'' stated Pavlic.

The month of May is the precise period when these flowers grow and are then harvested, which lasts until June. Their plantation covers a little more than two hectares, about 1100 elder trees grow on it, they also have mint only from their own cultivation, and they only buy raspberries from one larger Croatian company.

As Pavlic pointed out, although they have not yet established cooperation with local family farms, they hope that this year they will be able to at least partially procure raspberries from local producers. He also added that the share of raw materials from their own cultivation is around 70-75 percent.

“The Croatian elderflower juice is certainly the most sought after, and that isn't surprising at all, considering the great taste and tradition it has in our families. For many, it is their favourite drink from childhood, and we're the happiest of all when customers call us and enthusiastically tell us that Kapronca's juice is just like the grandmother's juice they used to drink,'' reveals Pavlic.

Next year, the family business plans to increase their daily capacity by two or three times, and they are considering the introduction of two new flavours, but that, according to Pavlic, will have to wait until 2022.

"We plan to build our own space for production and the storage of our products because we're currently working out of a rented space near Koprivnica. We also want to increase our capacity and achieve greater automation of production, filling and packaging.

We'd be happy if we succeeded with the help of EU funds, but unfortunately, we haven't had any luck with tenders so far. We've always been too young or too old a company, we had too small or too big of an economic size or some other technical problem, but we're not going to give up,'' concluded Zvonimir Pavlic.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Zagreb Brewery Releases Hidra UP on Croatian Drinks Market

May the 8th, 2021 - The Zagreb Brewery (Zagrebacka Pivovara) has released another of its creations onto the Croatian drinks market - meet Hidra UP.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the well known Zagreb Brewery has launched yet another brand new non-alcoholic drink onto the Croatian drinks market, Hidra UP. It is a refreshing drink made from orange, lemon and lime fruit juice and barley malt with very few calories, which quickly restores a person's consumed energy reserves. In addition to natural ingredients, Hidrs UP contains minerals (Mg) and vitamins (C, B6, B5, B3) that help reduce fatigue and exhaustion.

Given the ever-increasing pace of life and daily responsibilities, people rushing around trying to juggle the varying stresses of life often don't have enough time to ensure that they have a varied diet and the necessary rest. In these situations, they use every opportunity to make up for lost time. For business people, students, travellers, professional drivers and everyone else who lives the fast pace of life, the new kid on the block, or more specifically the Croatian drinks market restores their lost energy.

The Zagreb Brewery, which has become more and more well known on both the Croatian and the international scenes of late and is the leading brewery on the Croatian drinks market, continuously monitors trends and launches new products depending on the wishes and needs of consumers. After the launch of the isotonic drink Hidra ISO, the company is once again making a breakthrough on the Croatian drinks market with this new addition.

"After isotonic drinks found their consumers in the sports community, we wanted to offer a wider audience something new, something that will make their day easier and aid them in maintaining the necessary concentration. We believe that our audience will recognise the quality of this drink and that Hidra UP will soon become a favourite additional source of energy for all who need it in the dynamic pace of life,'' said Ana Sebih Pinjuh, the Zagreb Brewery's marketing director.

For more on Croatian drinks and everything else created in this country, follow Made in Croatia.