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Poland and Asia food & drink trade: a strong relationship

Each year, food and drink products cover around 10% of the Poland’s total merchandise imports. Being a member of the EU means the lion’s share of Poland’s food trade takes place with its fellow Europeans – but this is hardly the whole story.

Out beyond Eastern Europe, the MENA region, and the CIS states, lies Asia. Here, with its fantastic varieties of cultures, economies, and foods, a fresh market for Polish produce is emerging – and vice-versa.

With more Poles travelling than ever before, getting exposure to foreign cuisines, and bringing their new taste sensations back home with them, Asian producers are well positioned to make some big wins on Poland’s food market.

Asian food and drink exports to Poland are growing

On the surface, Poland’s increasingly international tastes are paying off for Asian producers. 2016 saw the nation import food and drink items worth $909.7 million from countries throughout Asia. In total, this covers around 10% of Poland’s total imports of foodstuffs and beverages.

It also represents growth. In 2015, Polish importers sourced goods with a collective value of $880.1 million – meaning 2016’s levels had grown at a rate of 3.3% over the previous 12 months.

2017 looks set to continue this trend with encouraging trade values being posted seen. According to statistics from the International Trade Centre, $167.7 million of food and drink items have been imported by Poland with Asian states as their point of origin. 

Apart from Poles having deeper pockets – the nation weathered the 2008 global recession with aplomb – and expanded palettes, there’s another reason why Asian producers are shipping greater quantities of food to Poland: the absence of Russia.

The relationship with the EU and Russia is often fractious at best. Yet in 2014, as industry professionals will only be too aware by now, things really soured. Food items from Russia are no longer welcome in the EU. 

Poland has had to look elsewhere to fill the gaps left behind by Russia – and it looks like Asia has been its destination of choice. 

China, Vietnam are Poland’s key Asian food & drink partners

Asia’s largest economy is also Poland’s largest partner, when it comes to the food trade. China stands someway above other Asian nations exporting to Poland. In 2015, data from MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity shows (OEC), Polish importers bought $336.7 million worth of food and drink items from Chinese manufacturers.

Amongst the most popular products exported from China to Poland that year include:

• Fish fillets or meat - $108 million
• Preserved and/or processed tomatoes - $15.4 million
• Dried vegetables - $17.8 million

Elsewhere, Vietnam is a key supplier of foodstuffs to the Polish market, exporting $191 million worth of food and drink items there in 2015. Fish and seafood is a popular product category, with $16 million of fish fillets alone exported to Poland during this time. But Vietnam’s biggest Polish bound product might shock you.

Data from the OEC reveals Poles bought coffee products worth a huge $86.6 million from Vietnamese producers during 2015.  Elsewhere, Poland also imported pasta worth around $13.1 million from Vietnam that year too – an interesting development given Italy’s close proximity and Free Trade stated thanks to the EU’s Common Market.
India rounds out the top three Asian countries exporting to Poland. Annually, its volumes amount to approximately $128 million. Probably unsurprisingly, tea is the most competitive product, with Poland-bound exports netting Indian producers nearly $14 million annually.

Other countries from Asia exporting food and drink products to Poland include (OED 2015 data):

Indonesia - $62.8 million, incl. $13 million in tea
Thailand - $49 million, incl. $14 million in processed fruits and nuts
Malaysia - $24.3 million, incl. $3.6 million in vegetables
Korea - $9.7 million, incl. $3.9 million in tea & coffee extracts
Pakistan - $7.7 million, incl. $2.5 million oily seeds

Judging by the types of popular products the OED data reveals are popular amongst Polish importers, Asian companies look well set to supply Poland’s huge food processing industry with ingredients.

Poland is an exciting, vibrant place to do business – especially in the agro-trade sector. But, as the nation is firmly entrenched within the EU and shows no signs of splitting any time soon, finding the right, internationally-minded business partners is vital.

Connect with Poland’s food industry at WorldFood Warsaw

Asian food and drink producer? Looking to tap into Poland’s multi-billion food import market and grow your business leads there and across Europe? WorldFood Warsaw is your destination.

Each year, thousands of domestic and international visitors flock to the show. Why? To actively source new suppliers, get hands on with the latest products on the market, and expand their businesses with like-minded partners. 

WorldFood Warsaw also features a unique business matchmaking service between exhibitors and potential buyers, distributors, and retail representatives – making it the ideal platform to meet and network with key decision makers of one of EU’s leading alcohol markets.
Contact us today to learn more about Poland’s potential for Asian food and drink – and to discuss your participation at WorldFood Warsaw next April.


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