Sunday, 21 February 2021

Zlatko Saračević, Podravka Vegeta Handball Team Coach Passes Away at 60

February 21, 2021 - Horrible news shook Croatian sports fans this evening, as we found out that Zlatko Saračević, current coach of the Podravka Vegeta handball team and former handball star passed away suddenly. He was only 60 years old.

It was supposed to be the night of the biggest derby in the Croatian female handball, the Podravka Vegeta - Lokomotiva game. His team won, although they've recently suffered a series of defeats, with the final score 32:29. After the game, Zlatko Saračević gave a statement to the Croatian media, and right after leaving the venue of the game, he got sick and was swiftly taken to the Koprivnica hospital. writes about the events of the night, taking their story from According to them, the doctors tried to resuscitate Saračević for 40 minutes, but they had to admit defeat in the end.

Zlatko Saračević, Sarač as he was known for years among the handball fans in Croatia, was born on July 5th, 1961 in Banja Luka. He played for several clubs in former Yugoslavia, and then went to play for several French clubs in the early nineties. He came back to play for Zagreb in 1997, and finished his active playing career in 2003. He was a Olympic gold medalist with the Croatian team in Atalanta in 1996, and a bronze-medal winner in 1988 for team Yugoslavia in Seoul. He was also a World champion and a silver-medal holder.

After his active career was over, he started his coaching career, during which he coached numerous teams, including his former teams Zagreb and Zamet, as well as Dubrovnik and a period as an assistant coach of the Croatian national team. For the past 3 seasons, he was the coach of the Podravka Vegeta handball team, the most successful club in Croatian women's handball.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic Gifted Special Edition Vegeta On Factory Visit

February 3, 2021 – Mr Plenkovic smiled warmly as he was presented with a special edition Vegeta carton, which replaced the face of its famous chef's mascot with his own. He was on a visit to the makers of the world-famous condiment

When it comes to Croatia's most-famous brands, the cooking condiment Vegeta is pretty much at the top of the tree. Its instantly-recognisable blue packaging and iconic chef's head mascot can be seen at supermarkets across much of the world. No wonder, then, that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic smiled warmly and laughed when presented with a special edition Vegeta carton, which replaced the face of its famous chef's mascot with his own.

vegeta-plenkovic-34444.jpg© / Podravka

The Croatian Prime Minister was on a visit to the Koprivnica-based makers of the world-famous condiment when he was presented with the special edition Vegeta. The gift was donated to him by the management of Podravka, the company that makes Vegeta.

Mr Plenkovic's visit actually took place some time ago, but the picture of the presentation of the special edition Vegeta only came to light on Tuesday 2 February 2021 when published in, after it had appeared in the Podravka factory newsletter.

The iconic Vegeta chef, who has what some might describe as a 'French moustache', has been the mascot of the most famous exported Croatian food product for many decades. He was put on the packaging way back in 1964 and has been a featured part of Vegeta packaging ever since.

vegeta-40image.jpgVegeta packaging through the years, with the ever-present 'French chef' mascot © Podravka

The Vegeta condiment celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019. Vegeta was first devised in 1959 at the food laboratory of Podravka by a team led by Professor Zlate Bartl. In Koprivnica, where it was first made. they call it Podravka's loose gold because Vegeta was the fastest-selling product of the company in its early years and the main reason for the rapid development of the company. Vegeta is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Strongest Croatian Brands Survived and Succeeded After Independence

January 4, 2020 – A map showing production across the former Yugoslavia details the sustained prosperity of many Croatian favourites as some of the strongest Croatian brands are shown not only to have survived but have succeeded following independence

Media across Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia have surprised younger readers and reminded older readers with the publication of a map detailing production in the former Yugoslavia. While this trip down memory lane has caused a range of reactions across the countries of the former republic, looking at the map from a purely Croatian perspective gives some enlightening information. Namely, many of the strongest Croatian brands visible on the map are recognisable today. Some of the strongest Croatian brands not only survived independence but have since grown.
Bajadera - one of the most popular products made by Zagreb-based chocolate and confectionery manufacturers Kraš

Zagreb-based chocolate and confectionery manufacturers Kraš, Požega-based confectionery and drinks manufacturers Zvečevo, oil company INA, Koprivnica-based food company Podravka and Koprivnica-based pharmaceuticals company Belupo, vitamin drink Cedevita, Varaždin-based food company Vindija, Vukovar shoemakers Borovo, Varaždin clothes designers and manufacturers Varteks and multi-use condiment Vegeta are just some of the strongest Croatian brands that are present on the map. You are still likely to see these brand names on many Croatian high streets. Some have succeeded in reaching further into international markets since Croatian independence.

1440xauto_1474445556Vegeta_SAD_1_kg.jpgCroatian-made condiment Vegeta is sold all over the world

Of course, not every brand visible on the map of Yugoslavia production has fared so well. In their coverage of the map, Ri.portal reminds that “Some of the Yugoslav products were used by literally the whole world - ships, cars, planes, trucks, weapons and even computers were produced... However, many of these companies no longer exist or are bankrupt.”

In their coverage of the map, Bosnian website Klix reminds that Croatian shipyards Uljanik in Pula and 3 Maj in Rijeka were at world level and produced large ships for customers from all over the world. Split-based shipyard Brodosplit, which can also be seen on the map, survives to this day.
Croatian vitamin drink Cedevita comes in a range of flavours

Ri.portal goes on to remember that Yugoslavia was one of only five countries in Europe at the time that manufactured its own computers. “Probably the most famous is the Galaxy, while the first computer produced was the CER-10,” they say. One of the Yugoslav computer makers on the map, popular in the late 1970s, was Digitron, based in Buje in Istria.

Sadly, not all of the strongest Croatian brands have made it until today. Famous tractor and agriculture equipment manufacturer Tomo Vinković of Bjelovar is no longer in production. Their famously-reliable machines are much in-demand on the secondhand market. Two new tractor manufacturers, Hittner doo and the Prima tractor factory still make tractors in Bjelovar.


Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Vegeta Continues to Ride on Tracks of Success - Vegeta Revives HZ Train

January the 28th, 2020 - Who still remembers the famous fast Podravka train that has been running from Osijek to Zagreb for many years now? Julijana Matanovic also wrote about it, and many travellers dreamed of the soft seats and the friendly conductors who dealt with the tickets with a smile on their faces. Last week, Podravka's most famous brand - the beloved Vegeta - celebrated its sixtieth anniversary.

The guests were taken on a rail journey covering six decades (though the train - however, arrived faster) on the route from Zagreb to Koprivnica, and each of the four specially designed wagons presented a part of the past and the development of this incredibly successful product which is sold worldwide, from Australia to China and all the way to Russia.

Vegeta is present in more than fifty countries, and with their sales abroad, they generate more than sixty percent of their revenue. With their specialities and gastronomic highlights, important guests from the world of politics and business joined forces with Stevo Karapandz, the patron saint of Podravka's cult show, "The Little Secrets of the Great Masters of the Kitchen."

When the train arrived at the railway station in Koprivnica without delay and blew its whistle - it was time to go back to 1959 and see the old Juha (soup) and Vegeta factory, from where Vegeta set out on its great journey around the world.

At this point exactly six decades ago, the most recognisable Croatian brand embarked on its journey, and over the course of its now sixty years of existence, Vegeta has become an indispensable part of cuisines on five continents, in more than fifty countries around the world.

''Vegeta generates over half a billion kuna of newly created value each year to the Croatian economy, and thanks to its results, we have created and continue develop the whole of Podravka as a brand. Therefore, with Vegeta's sixtieth birthday, we would like to pay tribute to Professor Zlata Bartl, her team, and generations of Podravka's people who have built this planetary success for six decades with their knowledge, diligence and love,'' said Marin Pucar, CEO of Podravka, emphasising that Vegeta is rightly placed side by side with Croatian athletes and the beautiful Croatian coast as part of a national image, which is well known throughout the world.

But that is not all! The Croatian Design Society opens in Zagreb on the Night of the Museums (Nov muzeja), on January the 31st, 2020, with the exhibition "Vegeta 60 - A package of history: Vegeta's design and evolution from 1959 to 2019", an overview of six decades of the graphic and packaging design of this famous product in the curatorial concept of Drazenka Jalsic Ernecic. It will present archival material, photographs, old commercials, clips from the legendary ''Little Secrets of the Great Masters of the Kitchen'' and texts that bring to life the story of the brand that generations have lived with.

The museum story of Podravka and Vegeta's industrial heritage is not only a story of packaging and graphic design and redesign, or of the brand's development and evolution, but has a far deeper symbolic meaning as a story of space, time, people, research, idea development, innovation, creation, emotion, rethinking and an analytical approach,'' Jalsic Ernecic pointed out in the foreword of the exhibition.

Vegeta, happy birthday to you!

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