A Promising Market for Fruit Juices: Central and Eastern Europe

Article excerpt

According to a new ITC market study, several countries in central and eastern Europe are emerging as promising markets for fruit juices. Although these markets are still small and account for less than 2% of total world imports - their total imports of fruit juices amounted to just over US$75 million in 1993 - prospects are for expanded sales in the future. Juice imports into the economies in transition doubled in value during the 1989-93 period, although considerable fluctuations occurred. In 1993 imports into the three countries that were the focus of this survey, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, amounted to $18.6 million. In all three per capita consumption is low compared with that in western Europe, which suggests large potential for increased juice sales. Field research has confirmed a strong consumer interest in fruit juices, nectars and juice drinks, as evidenced by the wide range of such products, both foreign and domestic, available in most supermarkets there.

Undoubtedly these markets will develop further in the future and provide interesting outlets for fruit juices from developing countries, in particular orange and other citrus juices and concentrates, but also tropical fruit juice raw material, although the latter to a smaller extent. Growth in demand is however unlikely to be rapid - rather at a modest pace, as these economies expand and consumer purchasing power rises.

Products covered

The new study deals in particular with citrus and tropical fruit juices (both concentrates and single-strength juice), although others - those from the temperate zone such as apple and berry juices - are also discussed to some degree, as are vegetable juices. Tropical and non-tropical fruit pulp is covered to the extent that it is used as fruit juice raw material.

World trade

World trade (imports) in fruit juices and concentrates reached $4.36 billion in 1993, a drop from the 1992 figure of $5.17 billion but an increase over the $3.97 billion of 1989. The fluctuations over the 1989-93 period reflect not only changes in quantities imported but also movements in price levels and foreign exchange rates. The decline in value in 1993 compared with the peak of the previous year was caused principally by lower world market prices for certain juices, notably frozen concentrated orange juice.

The volume of juices traded internationally increased by over 10% from 1992 to 1993.

Import markets

A few major markets account for more than half of the world's imports of fruit juices and concentrates. The five largest, namely the United States, Germany, Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, together purchased close to 59% of the juice traded internationally in 1993, corresponding to $2.57 billion. The same year the ten leading importing countries took about 80% of the total, or around $3.5 billion, while the remaining 20% was purchased by several dozen others, including several economies in transition.

Central and eastern Europe:

Many countries in central and eastern Europe import fruit juices. The main markets in this region are listed in the table on page 18. As shown, their foreign purchases reached $75.5 million in 1993, a 90% increase in value over 1989.

The Russian Federation is by far the largest market for juices in central and eastern Europe, with $33.1 million in imports in 1993, or about 44% of total juice imports in the region. Germany is the leading supplier with a 20% market share, followed by Finland with 15%, Israel 7% and the United States just under 7%. Several other countries, including Poland, Algeria, Netherlands, China, Spain, India and Slovenia, sold juices valued at between $1 million and $2 million each in 1993, or in the range of 3% to 6% of the Federation's total imports. Several of these sources, notably Germany, Finland and the Netherlands, provided mainly re-exported juices. Finland's exports to the Federation consist almost entirely of retail-packed products. …