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Polish food & drink imports: What does Poland demand?

Poland imports close to $200 billion worth of goods each year. Food and beverage imports make up roughly 10% of total volumes, with a range of products high demand.
Poland’s growing population of over 38.5 million is diversifying its tastes, desiring the latest in innovative productsflavours and offerings  – creating a vibrant, varied market for exporters.
So what does Poland import, food and beverage-wise? ITE Food & Drink has put together this guide to the hot products and emerging trends hitting the Polish imports market.
Data from 2014, the most up-to-date information available at the time of writing, suggests Poland imported food products, including meat, foodstuffs and fruit and vegetables, worth a total value of $18.56 billion. An international trade study by ING suggests Polish imports of food and beverage products will exceed $25 billion by 2017. 
A wide variety of products are seeing demand increase across Poland, according to trade publication Food from Poland. For example, 2014 saw significant rises in the import values of a variety of different meat and dairy items:
• Poultry meat – 21% increase
• Milk, cream & ice cream – 14% increase
• Cheese & curd – 12% increase
• Sheep meat – 40% increase
• Beef – 9% increase
• Fish & crustaceans – 6% increase
The rises in poultry meat and beef import values are intriguing, as export volumes of these products have also been increasing. Lamb and sheep meat is of the fastest growing sectors in Poland.
Polish economic growth is stimulating a rise in demand for sheep meat, according to statistics from the EU Commission, with volumes shipped to Polish shores rising from 37 tons in 2000 to 1,200 tons in 2015, worth some $9.68 million. Cuts formed 95% of total sheep meat shipments across this period.
Pork, however, eclipses all other meat categories. In the first quarter of 2016 alone, Polish imports of pork meat totalled 177,000 tons, revealing the bountiful opportunities for producers of pork products on the Polish market.
While Poland is a strong exporter of vegetables and fruit, especially apples, it does import a range of goods to supplement local production. Dates, figs, pineapples, avocados, guavas and mangos, for example, were imported in volumes totalling $164 million in 2014. Citrus fruits accounted for $11.9 million of fruit and vegetable imports, while tomatoes contributed $15.4 million. Dried vegetable imports totalled $18.3 million, while $4.22 million worth of potatoes were imported in 2014.
Seafood also enjoys a healthy presence on Polish food imports markets. $650 million worth of fish and seafood products were imported in the first half of 2015, according to data accrued by the United States Department of Agriculture. Poland’s population has a healthy appetite for fish, with consumption standing at around 12.3 kilograms per capita. Cod, mackerel, pollock and herrings are amongst the chief fish varieties favoured by Polish consumers.
Poles are becoming ever more health conscious, with healthy, organically produced food rising in popularity. It is likely eco-friendly products will see import levels skyrocket in the coming years.
Tea & coffee too makes a strong showing, as poles consume 20,000 tons of tea alone each year. Import volumes of both tea & coffee, and associated products, totals around $81 million annually. Given that Poland is Europe’s fourth biggest tea consumer, and ninth globally, exporters of hot drinks should thrive here.
With Poles’ tastes growing more international and eclectic in nature, it is predicted that a surge in more exotic products, and organically produced offerings, will colour the import market in the near future. Exporters can enjoy fantastic success in Poland for certain.


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