Groceries: Bulgarians begin choosing more domestic products

Written by on December 2, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Groceries: Bulgarians begin choosing more domestic products

Purchasing domestic groceries makes a lot of sense, always and everywhere, especially in Bulgaria. There are several reasons.

The Bulgarian economy definitely needs to gain more strength. Competition from abroad is good, for instance because it helps improve the quality of groceries in some areas. On the other hand, many Bulgarian producers are weak in comparison. Especially right after the collapse of communism, many got crushed or they were bought by huge foreign enterprises, such as Nestlé or Danone.

Another good reason for buying Bulgarian groceries: Their quality is on the rise. This has to do with the fact that the competition is strong, and with the consumer’s increasing interest in details. More and more Bulgarians read labels in supermarkets, since they want to eat more healthy, or because they want to get better value for their money. The producers react, by offering more quality products.

A third excellent reason for buying Bulgarian goods is all the energy wasted during transport. Putting a glass of honey on a truck and driving it 2,000 kilometres, all the way to Bulgaria, in order to place it on a supermarket shelf, right next to Bulgarian honey, which is just as good, does not make sense at all.

Bulgaria definitely offers great vegetables and fruit. Many milk products are excellent too, with the exception of butter. Actually, the so-called milk produced by huge foreign companies tastes like water by now, while real Bulgarian milk is a lot richer. The latter might depend on the brand, but there is a tendency.

Sure, there are some Bulgarian products which are unfit for consumption, at least from a Western European point of view. This includes butter produced here, which is sour and tastes as if it had been left in the sun for months. Juices in cartons are another example. Most juices of this kind, which were produced in Bulgaria, taste like water mixed with a ton of sugar and nail polish remover. In these few cases, buying imported products does make sense after all.

Bulgarian yogurt is considered the best. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

In the past year, quality discussion of a different kind was started by Eastern European governments. They claimed the quality of supermarket products exported to Eastern Europe was partially lower, compared to products sold in Western Europe. Those governments do have a point there. At the same time, those large companies sell what they can sell, meaning consumers should react, by not buying those products.

However, Bulgarian consumers are becoming more aware of quality and healthy nutrition. They seem to compare more. And they buy more domestic products already. In 2016, sales of Bulgarian products in supermarkets increased by 3 percent. This trend will hopefully continue, for the economy’s and the environment’s sake.

“I Buy Bulgarian” is a new initiative initiated by BNT 2 (Bulgarian National Television) and partners. It asks citizens to buy Bulgarian products for the holidays, including groceries, gifts and everything else. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food as well as the National Association of Municipalities are part of this.

The initiative was an idea developed by the National Branch Union of Bakeries and Confectioners in Bulgaria. BNT 2 quoted the organisation’s President, Mariana Kukusheva, who said the initiative should continue after the Christmas season.

One Bulgarian product is being treasured more and more, by consumers abroad and inside the country, and therefore does not seem to need this kind of support. It is wine.

Bulgarian wine producers reported significant developments. So far, 90 percent of the wine on the Bulgarian market was imported, one of them told BNT. Now it is supposedly the opposite. Wine exports are big as well.

The production of Bulgarian milk and dairy products is on the rise too. The growth was 11% in 2016. Regarding Bulgarian vegetables, the sales increase is even more impressive: 30 percent.

“I Buy Bulgarian” also wants to support regional products on the market throughout Bulgaria.

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