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!

Follow our Made in Croatia page for more on Croatian products.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

10 Popular Croatian Dishes Powered by Vegeta

December 17, 2019 - Vegeta, one of Croatia’s most recognizable brands, celebrates 60 years.

I have to be honest - when the TCN boss came up with the idea to share ten Croatian recipes powered by Vegeta in honor of the brand’s 60th birthday, I was a bit thrown off guard. “Isn’t Vegeta in every Croatian dish?” 

At least that’s what I grew up believing, considering Vegeta always seemed to be the secret ingredient to all of my mother’s best dishes. You could find the Vegeta right next to the olive oil, salt and pepper in my house; it was and remains a staple in our kitchen and the kitchens of Croatians around the world. 

This powerful seasoning is crafted with carefully selected aromatic herbs and spices and is used to add some mood to your food. Vegeta is so diverse, it can pep up anything from pasta to pašteta or paprikaš to peka. It gives life to a basic brudet and spices up the simplest soups. Vegeta is a friend of fish and a foe to no one. It is the trump card of Croatian chefs and will go down in history as one of Croatia’s biggest victories. 

Thus, to help mark Vegeta’s 60th birthday, we’re bringing you 10 Croatian recipes fuelled by this powerful ingredient, courtesy of the Vegeta brand itself.

Beef medallions made the Dalmatian way (Juneći medaljoni na dalmatinski): This simple meat dish adds a touch of Dalmatia, a tablespoon of Vegeta, and thick slices of skuta cheese. 

Stuffed pancakes a la Sarma (Punjene palačinke á la sarma): This recipe marries the best of both worlds by fusing two beloved Croatian dishes - pancakes and sarma, into one great meal.  One spoonful of Vegeta Maestro Kim does the trick. 

Zagorje Potato Soup (Zagorska juha od krumpira): Hailing from Croatia’s northern parts, this hearty potato soup combines a variety of Vegeta’s products, dried bacon, and sour cream. 



Holiday soup with dumplings (Blagdanska juha s gris – knedlama): A staple at most Croatian lunches, be it during the holidays or not, is clear broth soup, usually made from chicken or beef. Many households dress it up with dumplings, though it would be nothing without two spoonfuls of Croatia's secret weapon.

Zucchini fritters (Popečci od tikvica): I always looked forward to zucchini season as our dinner table abounded in my favorite fritters. A dish I watched my baba make as a child and my mother as a quick dinner fix as I grew older, our favorite seasoning takes simple fritters to the next level.



Chicken Pâté (Pašteta od pilećih jetrica): With pašteta already so easy to acquire on Croatian supermarket shelves, why would anyone bother making it themselves? Well, this way, you can add a dash of Vegeta - and this recipe boasts a fancy New Year’s Eve touch.

Orada with potatoes and scallions (Orada s krumpirom i mladim lukom): A grilled fish dish so good you’ll never look back. Orada is readily found along Croatia’s coast, usually served with potatoes and Swiss chard. This recipe may add a twist with the scallions, but the star ingredient is no surprise.



Stuffed Peppers (Punjene Paprike): If you skipped this on your Croatian holiday, then you haven’t been to Croatia at all. Usually served over piping hot mashed potatoes soaked in the pepper’s sauce, this Croatian classic is a summer standard.

Brudet: Another favorite enjoyed along Croatia’s coast is brudet - a stew made of a mix of fish, olive oil, vinegar, tomato sauce, and wine. Brudet is often served on a bed of polenta to ensure you soak up every last drop. 

White Cod (more commonly known as Bakalar na bijelo): The key to a Croatian Christmas is bakalar, or cod fish. Prepared in two ways, ‘red’ or ‘white’, this recipe opts for the bianco version, boasting plenty of potatoes, garlic, and olive oil.



Vegeta is sold in 50 markets globally. Get out to get it now!

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

60th Anniversary of Vegeta Spice Celebrated

ZAGREB, December 17, 2019 - A ceremony marking 60 years of production of internationally renowned Croatian spice brand Vegeta was held in the Podravka company in Koprivnica on Monday.

In attendance were Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković as well as numerous ministers.

Plenković congratulated the hosts "on Vegeta's first 60 years," saying that the spice, aside from being part of Podravka's identity, was also part of everyone's everyday life.

"I also congratulate Podravka on its excellent business results as well as on your employees' excellent salaries," he said, praising the quality of Podravka's other products.

Jandroković said the 72-year-old Podravka was the pride of the Croatian economy. "It adapts to global trends and is also an innovative company," he said, recalling that the company with 1,800 employees had a line of as many as 1,000 products.

Speaking of Vegeta, Podvarka Board chairman Marin Pucar said it was invented by professor Zlata Bartl and her team. "It was such a big invention that even global multinational companies, after Podravka, decided to launch similar products."

Vegeta is Croatia's most successful brand and is sold on 50 markets around the world.

More news about Podravka can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Vegeta Celebrates 60 Years by Upgrading Design

July 6, 2019 - For its 60th birthday celebration, Vegeta invited its consumers to become part of the brand’s history by taking part in a competition to create a unique Vegeta label. The winners of the competition, the 60 best-designed labels, were presented by a six-member jury on Thursday at the renowned Adriatic Grašo restaurant in Split.

Krunoslav Bešvir, director of Podravka's Business Culture Program, revealed interesting stories from the 60-year history of Vegeta and presented a birthday campaign titled "Vegeta! 100% Original! 100% Mine!":

“A 60th birthday is the ideal opportunity to freshen up the exterior because just as Vegeta encourages creativity in the kitchen, we also wanted its users to test their creativity by creating a label for its packaging."

vegeta 60 doze-03.jpg

Marinka Akrap, Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications of Podravka, presented the outstanding results of the campaign.

“We are delighted by the responsiveness of our consumers and the creativity they have shown in the design of the label. Over a month, more than 32,000 design proposals were received. 

Conducted in the markets of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia, the competition saw applications from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Kosovo, Canada, Greece and Norway.”

vegeta 60 doze-01.jpg

"Vegeta looks better than ever," said Davor Bruketa, Creative Director of the Bruketa&Žinić&Grey agency, expressing satisfaction with the design creations from all over the world, allowing users to express themselves creatively.

Aleksandar Šekuljica and Ivan Tandarić of the fashionable ELFS said: "Since design is our livelihood, it was a pleasure to review and evaluate the works and we believe that we have really chosen the best. Additionally, through designing T-shirts with the elements of the Vegeta, which are parts of our new collection, we have been allowed to give Vegeta a vision as a brand.”

Petar Grašo recalled that Vegeta accompanied him through life:” "Although lately, due to numerous obligations, I do not have time to cook as before, whenever I use Vegeta it is a safe road to deliciousness, so I am very pleased to join forces in the future and to work together on new projects.”

vegeta 60 doze-02.jpg

The creators of the 60 best-designed labels will be particularly rewarded, and all of the design proposals received in the competition will be printed on the jars and on sale from October in the markets covered by the birthday campaign.

You can find the list of winners here.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Podravka Delivers Record Results Despite Agrokor's Problems

When Marin Pucar took over Podravka back in February last year, he comically stated, "Once you go Podravka, you're always Podravka!"

As Marina Sunjerga/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of November, 2018, Pucar experienced returning to the large domestic food company, at which he worked for twelve years, very emotionally. Pucar also has many goals and plans set up for the huge company to aim for.

Pucar's big plans for Podravka were soon realised because the Koprivnica-based food company achieved net operating profits of a massive 186 million kuna during the first nine months of 2018, which is the best result and the highest operating profit in Podravka's long history. These sparkling financial results saw employee salaries increase by 1000 kuna and the company get closer to reaching its goal of being a food business consolidator in Croatia, these praiseworthy achievements brought Pucar to his very well-deserved nomination for businessman of the year for 2018.

It is also important to point out his engagement in resolving the crisis in Agrokor from his position as the president of the association of Agrokor's suppliers, which acted uniquely to protect the interests of domestic companies.

''Podravka is a very good company'', said Pucar when he came to the head of the company, but added that it can and should be better because Podravka is much more than just its numerous brands and products.

In just a year and a half of his mandate, Marin Pucar has achieved excellent results with his team. He announced Vegeta's strong development, involving a wide range of products. In his vision and strategy, Vegeta will be branded completely with the culinary field, and all kinds of dishes.

''That's the aim, if we succeed, and we believe that we will,'' Pucar said in an interview for Večernji list.

''We'll secure Vegeta for another hundred years, and add new, additional value for Podravka,'' added Pucar.

Among the priorities, Pucar also emphasised the improvement of the rights and the material conditions of employees as the company's most valuable resource. ''Without satisfied workers, there can be no successful company,'' Pucar said. Namely, The salaries of the lowest paid employees in Podravka will increase by about 1000 kuna a month, which is one of the moves other entrepreneurs must follow if they truly want to retain quality workers.

The lowest wage in Podravka now amounts to 4,000 kuna per month. Through a collective contract, Podravka's employees have been granted a jubilee reward, and the company will pay them 1000 kuna per year for voluntary pension savings, which will eventually provide them with larger pensions when they retire. One of the goals that Pucar has set in front of him is, as stated, to position Podravka as a consolidator for the food industry, as well as the generator of the development of domestic agricultural production.

Accordingly, the company is expanding its cooperation with subcontractors and domestic OPGs to ensure that by the year 2022, its global brands such as Vegeta are secure. To achieve this goal requires a two to three year investment cycle, but the capacities needed by Podravka are sufficient to trigger a serious segment of Croatian agriculture. Part of the financing of these investments was secured by the company from EU funds.

Podravka itself has an impressive investment potential of around 200 million euro, so new acquisitions could realistically be expected. The company's presence on numerous traditional markets such as that of Poland, Hungary, and Russia, is set to increase. Pucar also played an important role in the rehabilitation of the formerly ailing Agrokor Group from the position of the president of the Association of Agrokor's suppliers.

The challenge was to protect and preserve the rights and interests of Agrokor's suppliers, while at the same time not compromise the position of Agrokor, and Agrokor's giant Konzum as the largest domestic retail chain. Unlike various other companies, Podravka didn't stop its deliveries to the then suffering Konzum, thereby confirming its responsibility for the continuation of Konzum's operations and the preservation of jobs.

The successful running of this extremely complex process resulted in the stabilisation of Agrokor's operations, a large part of the Croatian economy, and the preservation of Agrokor's supplier stability.

Otherwise, Pucar has spent most of his career in the food industry. He started his professional career at Gavrilović back in 2001, and one year later, he was in Podravka's meat industry, Danica, where he was the director of sales, marketing and development. He quickly moved to Podravka's high position of director for the Croatian market, and from 2008 to 2012, he was a member of the management of the company.

After five years with Podravka, he went to Zvečevo, which he led before returning as Podravka's main man.

Want to keep up with more news like this from Croatia? Make sure to follow our business page.


Click here for the original article by Marina Sunjerga/VL on Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Sandra Perković Becomes Ambassador for Vegeta Natur

Sandra Perković meets Podravka. Linking Croatian companies and Croatian athletes is important for the overall strengthening of the image of Croatian products across the world.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of October, 2018, one of the best Croatian athlete of all time, Sandra Perković, and the president of Podravka's board, Marin Pucar, signed an agreement on cooperation by which Sandra Perkovic becomes the ambassador of Podravka's products under the brand Vegeta Natur. The agreement was signed on Thursday, October the 25th, during Croatian Tourism Days (Dani Hrvatskog Turizma) held on the island of Hvar, under the organisation of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

"We're proud that our most successful athlete of all time, Sandra Perković, has joined the Podravka family. It's a great pleasure to bind ourselves to the best ones [athletes] who share in Podravka's important values such as valuable work, setting high goals, and the pursuit of excellence. These are the foundations of Sandra's best achievements, but also of Podravka's successful business,'' Podravka's Marin Pucar said during the signing of the Contract on cooperation, adding his desire for Sandra to take the title of the best athlete of the world this year, as she so deserves.

''I've grown up with Podravka's products and I'm glad I'm able to pass on the message about the quality and the value of these products to others through my work and my sporting activities. Connecting Croatian companies and Croatian athletes helps to promote Croatia's top-quality products across the world,'' stated Sandra Perković.

With its numerous brands and products, Podravka is present on more than sixty international markets.

Vegeta, as the original Croatian product, has become somewhat of a culinary phenomenon. In its almost six decades of existence, Vegeta has entered into the kitchens of consumers all over the world. In line with the trends on the culinary market, Vegeta has been being continuously upgraded throughout the years, and now we have Vegeta Natur.

Vegeta Natur products are enhanced with new recipes, which include a combination of carefully selected vegetables and spices with the message which bear the message ''by Mother Nature's recipe''.

During the Days of Croatian Tourism event was a panel called "Croatia - small country, big brand", in which Davor Bruketa, Jadranka Primorac, Aleksandar Dojčinović, Kristijan Staničić, and Božo Skoko participated along with Marina Pucar and Sandra Perković. Marin Pucar pointed out that Croatia's popularity in terms of tourism and sport should also be transferred into other spheres of the country's wider offer, particularly in terms of strengthening the image of Croatia's many top quality food products across the world.

For the latest news about Olympian champion Sandra, follow the TCN page here.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Clouds With Silver Linings: Success Stories of Most Powerful Croatian Brands

Just how did branding help some of the most powerful and recognisable Croatian labels develop cult-like status on the global market?

Monday, 17 October 2016

12 Agrokor Brands Among the Top 50 Food Brands in Croatia

Croatian company Zvijezda, who just celebrated 100 years of existence and Jamnica, which has been around since 1828, are in the top 3 strongest brands among Croatian consumers, confirmed latest by BRANDscore and independent market research agency Ipsos, reports Poslovni Dnevnik.