"Bulgaria Food & Drink Report Q2 2013" now available at Fast Market Research

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Apr 22 2013

The outlook for the Bulgarian consumer sector looks to be picking up, and we continue to expect a moderate recovery in the Bulgarian economy to gather pace in 2013, forecasting real GDP growth of 1.5%. This growth will be in response to the eurozone's slow return to growth and greater spending from the Bulgarian government. Household consumption has been the principal driver of Bulgarian economic growth in 2012. Real wage growth remained robust throughout the year, averaging 4.3% year-on-year in spite of persistently high unemployment ticking up to 11.3% in November. Nevertheless, a number of major issues remain, as unemployment is still stubbornly high, with long-term unemployment particularly problematic. Over the longer term, issues such as economic difficulties and the continuation of emigration of younger and better qualified workers are also major concerns, limiting the opportunities for premiumisation.

Full Report Details at
- http://www.fastmr.com/prod/554009_bulgaria_food_drink_report_q2_2013.aspx?afid=303

Headline Industry Data (local currency)

* 2013 per capita food consumption growth: +2.25%; forecast compound annual growth rate to 2017: +2.65%.
* 2013 alcoholic drinks sales growth: +4.0%; forecast compound annual growth rate to 2017: +5.12%.
* 2013 soft drinks sales growth: +6.27%; forecast compound annual growth rate to 2017: +4.18%.
* 2013 mass grocery retail sales growth: +4.17%; forecast compound annual growth rate to 2017: +5.75%.

Key Industry Trends

Interest In Organic Continues: Despite the slowdown in both growth and investments in the overall food and drink sector, organic foods still seem to be attracting considerable attention in Bulgaria. In January 2013, it was announced that The Organic Corporation (TOC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian organic food producer SunOpta, has acquired the Bulgarian grain handling and processing facility of Organic Land Corporation (OLC). TOC will pay EUR3.2mn (US$4.19mn) to OLC for the facility in Silistra, Bulgaria, which is currently a supplier for SunOpta. The acquisition will enable SunOpta to expand its product portfolio in organic sunflower oil, as well as value-added organic sunflower kernels, said SunOpta's President Gerard Versteegh.

Mercator To Exit Bulgarian Market: In early 2013 the Slovenia-based retailer Mercator, which has a presence across the Balkans region, announced that it will withdraw from the Bulgarian and Albanian markets following a very difficult 2012. The retailer had entered Bulgaria in mid-2009 and was believed to have set aside EUR40mn for new store openings. However, the company posted a loss of over US$135.1mn in 2012, and said that moving forward it plans to focus on smaller store formats and other non-food products, while selling its under-performing operations.

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