Big Plans for Croatian Meat Industry and Dalmatian Prosciutto

Lauren Simmonds

Big plans are in the works for the Croatian meat industry, more precisely the Pivac company who are going forward with enormous investments near Vrgorac, all in the name of Dalmatia’s beloved prosciutto (pršut).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Marta Duic writes on the 27th of June, 2019, more than seventy percent of the production of certified Dalmatian prosciutto with a protected designation of origin in the EU, comes from the Vrgorac region, and the largest prosciutto production complex in the whole of Southeastern Europe is located in the village of Zavojane.

The owner is the Croatian meat industry’s well known Pivac, which is soon set to complete works at a brand new plant located in the nearby economic zone of Ravča.

“Here, traditional forms of production are used just as our grandparents did, only in larger quantities. In addition to prosciutto, we also do pancetta, salami and sirloin. At this location and at this altitude, we’re facing towards the wind, and when it comes to Dalmatian prosciutto, the changes of the bura and jugo winds are important,” explained Darko Markotić, the director of the Pivac meat processing industry during a visit to prosciutto complex in Zavojane. From the 4500 pieces produced back in 2004, this Croatian company has arrived to the production of as many as 150,000 pieces today, and about ten percent of their production is produced from that sole complex in Zavojane.

“The main export markets are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary,” Markotić stated.

In the Ravča zone, in October, a new plant will be opened. In this zone near Vrgorac, there will be a total of nine companies involved in various activities, from the production of car parts and electrics, to laundry.

“The space covers 10,500 square metres and has 300,000 capacity units for prosciutto, where we’ll implement all of the modern technology, but we will continue to produce it traditionally,” said Markotić.

Investments for the meat industry aren’t stopping, because by the end of 2020, they plan to complete a plant for cutting fresh meat and more, as well as new distribution centre covering southern Croatia, and an accompanying administrative building. When this new major investment cycle is over, the new Pivac complex in the aofrementioned economic zone near Vrgorac will cover more than 30,000 square metres, and the value of the total investment will reach a massive thirty million euros.

“It’s a private investment, and there’s no facility like the one we’re getting anywhere else in the world,” noted the director of this successful Croatian company.

Alongside the aforementioned 300,000 pieces of prosciutto, 2,500 tons of other cured meat products will be stacked and only half a million of them will be processed,” explains Markotić.

Interestingly, the Croatian company Pivac produces more pancetta than prosciutto on an annual basis, about 2,000 tons of it a year, and in addition to large trade chains, their products are sold in 285 stores. Markotić also pointed out the fact that the key ingredients in Dalmatian prosciutto are salt and smoke, and in natural weather conditions, the prosciutto is dried out for 30-40 days.

The entire process lasts for a minimum of twelve months, and the goods are then usually placed on the market after twelve to twenty months. The prosciutto complex in the village of Zavojane has now expanded, it now employs 25 people with an impressive annual production of 150,000 pieces of prosciutto.

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