"Croatia mainly produces all types of wheat flour, but also flour of other cereals. Capacity for milling of wheat is 1.2 million tons with 520 working days. Recently we have increased investment in the milling industry, which is accompanied by new technologies and modern equipment. Unfortunately one part of the mills still needs additional investments in their facilities."
This month, we have interviewed Drazen Miloloza, Representative of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and the Secretary of Croatian Flour Millers Association. Having 58 mills with capacities of 25.000-140.000 tonnes per year, Croatian milling industry mostly produces for domestic use. Stating that many of Croatian flour mills have invested significantly in the modernisation of their facilities, Miloloza also said: "By joining the European Union, Croatia has opened the market for bakery and flour products, which resulted in growth of both imports and exports of bakery and flour products."
We have talked with Drazen Miloloza about the activities of Croatian milling industry, investments of milling companies, flour production and consumption amount of Croatia.
Mr. Drazen Miloloza, we know that you are one of the representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and the secretary of Croatian Flour Millers Association. Could you give us some information about The Croatian Chamber of Economy?
The Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE) is an independent professional and business organisation for all legal entities engaging in business within the Republic of Croatia. It was established in 1852, organised along European tradition lines as an institution which represents Croatian economic interests and on the so-called continental chamber system, with compulsory membership. We have more than 80,000 active members. As the umbrella institution of the Croatian business community, CCE represents and promotes Croatian companies’ interests in Croatia and abroad. CCE consists, apart from the Headquarters in Zagreb, of 20 county chambers and 2 representative offices in Brussels and Moscow.
The activities and interests of CCE Members are carried out through professional associations. Each CEE Member belongs to an association related to the registered activity or the affiliation, which bind activities. Functionally, the CEE consists of 9 departments dealing with the respective branch of the economy, and it includes 56 professional associations and 33 affiliations. Apart from this, Permanent Arbitration Court, Conciliation Centre, and Court of Honour are also established within the CCE.
Millers are organized within Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry Department. Activities of the Department include incentives and proposals relating to legislation and business conditions, particularly when it comes to the drafting of special laws and defining specific requirements for an activity; participation in EU projects; analyses of current economic trends within a sector and sectoral monitoring home and abroad; proposing solutions to current and development challenges; participation in expert teams of competent ministries. Trade missions and joint participation at fairs and production of promotional brochures are also arranged by the Department. We are members of ICC, Eurochambres, European Flour Milling Association, AEBIOM (European Biomass Association) etc.
Could you please give us some information about the Croatian flour milling industry? What can you say about the number of the mills, milling capacities, technology usage level, and manufactured product groups?
We have 58 mills, 11 of which with capacities of 25.000-140.000 tonnes per year. Total flour production is 500.000 tonnes. Croatia mainly produces all types of wheat flour, but also flour of other cereals. Capacity for milling of wheat is 1.2 million tons with 520 working days. Many of our mills have invested significantly in the modernisation of their facilities.
How is the approach of the milling companies towards the new technologies? Is there any increase in the recent milling and technology investments?
Recently we have increased investment in the milling industry, which is accompanied by new technologies and modern equipment. Unfortunately one part of the mills still needs additional investments in their facilities.
Do all of the mills in Croatia realize their production completely for the domestic consumption? Are there any export activities of the mills in your country?
The majority of Croatian production is intended for the domestic market (98%). We export about 17.000 tons, mainly in neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Hungary.
What is the level of raw material in your country? How much of the raw material processed in the mills is produced in your country, and how much of it imported? Which countries do you prefer for the imports?
Almost 98% of raw material is produced in Croatia. Wheat production is from 600 to 900.000 tonnes per year, on 150 to 180.000 hectares, which is more than sufficient for the country’s needs. The quality is mostly satisfactory, but not with all the parameters such as the level of proteins, so we need improvers in some sectors, particular for the bakery and some food products (baby food). We import flour mostly from Austria, Germany and Hungary, in the amount of 15.000 tonnes.
Could you please give us some information about the flour consumption amount and consumption culture of Croatia? For instance; for which food products the flour is used and how is it consumed? What are the preferences of your consumers in bakery products consumption?
Flour consumption is 101 kg per capita, consumption of bread and bakery products around 70 kg per capita, mainly white bread and pastry (Italian type of bread), but we use all kinds of bread and pastry, rolls etc. Flour is mainly used in the baking industry, and in the household.
What do you think about the future development of your country in terms of both the improvement of the milling industry and consumption amounts and preferences of your country? What are your future expectations about your industry?
By joining the European Union, Croatia has opened the market for bakery and flour products, which resulted in growth of both imports and exports of bakery and flour products.Croatia now has on disposition funds for subsidies and rural development from the EU, which is very important for the development of primary industry and raw materials.
Croatia is suitable for the production of grain, therefore we expect sufficient production in the future, we are also encouraged by good results in tourism in recent seasons and we expect a stable consumption of bakery and flour products.
What do you think about your position when you compare your country to other European countries in terms of milling? What do you aim in order to strengthen the position of your industry throughout the world in the future?
We are satisfied with the level of cereal production, the production of flour and quality of Croatian baking industry. We need to continually work on developing the quality of products and we need to use new technologies, in order to maintain the competitiveness of products and maintain domestic production.
As an association especially, do you have any projects for your industry that are being realized right now or will be realized in the coming years?
As CCE, we have a number of domestic and EU projects that we carry out with sectors in agriculture and food industry. We are actively involved in the promotion of Croatian bakery industry at international fairs (Iba Munich, Sudback Stuttgart etc.). Through the work of the Croatian association we are also helping our millers with our advisory services and we provide them useful information from the European Flour Milling association.
Finally, what would you like to add about your association and the flour milling industry in your country?
We are very content regarding the increasing quality of Croatian products; we expect a stable production of grain, flour and bakery products in the future. In particular, it is the most important to invest in quality of the products in order to achieve competitiveness; so we will support our producers and members in advisory and marketing activities. It is particularly important to represent the interests of our producers before policy makers (Ministry of Agriculture, European Commission). Recently our organisation had a significant role in the development of new rules on cereals and cereal products. The Rules lay down the general quality standards for cereals and cereal products that are placed on the market intended for the end user. The Rules also lay down requirements for the maximum salt content of bread, which were adopted under the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan for reducing excessive salt intake in the Republic of Croatia. Croatia has joined the countries that have recognised the importance of the excessive salt intake issue and adopted the World Health Organization and United Nations target to reduce salt intake by 30 % by 2025.