HGK: Food industry Croatia’s strongest manufacturing industry

ZAGREB, 14 May (Hina) – Croatia’s food safety system is aligned with the highest European standards and is part of the EU’s single rapid alert system, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) vice-president for agriculture and tourism, Dragan Kovačević, said at a conference on food safety and quality in Opatija on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, in the coming period Croatia will have to tackle more intensively the problem of the grey economy, he noted.

“African swine fever has shown the potential risk to consumer health because the grey economy not only brings risks but causes unfair competition and great damage to producers,” he said.

Inspector-General Andrija Mikulić said that in 2023, 17,000 checks were carried out at food business operators. This is slightly more than in 2022 due to an increase in the number of businesses and in the number of reports.

Sanitary inspection teams conducted 8,000 checks at 5,000 business operators in 2023, Mikulić said.

The food industry is the strongest manufacturing industry, employing the largest number of workers, accounting for the largest share of gross value added, and having the highest turnover.

Due to its multiplicative effect on other activities, notably agriculture and transport, it is of strategic importance for the overall development of the Croatian economy, Kovačević said.

Since Croatia’s entry to the EU in mid-2013, the physical volume of production in the national food industry has increased by more than 20%, he said.

“We have created brands that are on a par with products in the most demanding EU markets. We have a large number of protected traditional products, and they strongly contribute to the country’s eno-gastronomic and tourism offer,” Kovačević said.