As Morski writes on the 3rd of April, 2019, what has been happening with prosciutto for the past three to four years is truly spectacular. Due to its superior properties and specific traditional production technology, Croatian prosciutto producers have stumbled upon some great export potential and even more potential for the product’s better placement in Croatian tourism through the country’s already rich gastronomic offer.
When compared to five years ago in 2014, exports have increased in quantity by fourteen times, and perhaps most importantly, in value eleven times. Approximately 88 percent of total exports go to the EU market, and just over eleven percent go to CEFTA countries.
”The latest 2018 statistics show an increase in exports of shank and aitchbone products by nearly sixty percent, but unfortunately, we still don’t even cover a third of imports. We need new investments and we need to invest in new prosciutto production capacities to double our production, and 700,000 pieces annually to at least meet the needs of the domestic market,” said Dragan Kovačević, vice president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy for Agriculture and Tourism, at a press conference announcing the event Days of Croatian Prosciutto.
Ante Madir, Executive Director of the “Hrvatsko pršuta” (Croatian prosciutto) cluster, which brings together producers responsible for 95 percent of the total prosciutto production in the Republic of Croatia, explained more precisely what awaits Croatia on the fifth Days of Croatian prosciutto, which is being held from the 26th to the 27th of April at the Zagreb International Hotel this year.
”On the first day, we’ll have a manifestation with round tables and workshops, the expert part of the gathering, and the second day at Ban Jelačić Square, there’ll be a show-selling part where people can taste our prosciutto,” Madir said, adding that they decided on Zagreb because quite a large market and a high demand for the product can be found in the Croatian capital.
“What’s been happening with prosciutto over the past three to four years is truly spectacular. The signs of protection (special labels) are our tickets to the wider European Union market, that’s very important for being able to [have our products] arrive to shop shelves. In Croatia, we still need to work on presenting [our products] to consumers to have them pay more money for something which is domestic and specific,” said Igor Miljak, chairman of the PPK Karlovac meat industry, stressing that Croatia still doesn’t have key gastro brands that are recognised on the European or global market, but it definitely does have the quality to be able to cope well with the competition.
Ana Babić from Voštane pršut, a representative of the Association of Dalmatian Prosciutto, explained the difference between Dalmatian and Istrian, or more specifically Krk prosciutto.
”Dalmatian prosciutto is smoked, while Istrian and Krk prosciutto isn’t. There are no additives or preservatives in its production, and the process itself lasts for at least a year,” Babić explained, adding that the tradition of Dalmatian prosciutto production draws its roots from as far back as ancient Roman times.
Drago Pletikosa of Belcrotrade and the president of the Association of Drniš pršut stressed that Drniš prosciutto is a little and is therefore certified, although there is no difference between Drniš and Dalmatian prosciutto when it comes to the production process itself.
”Last year, we imported 3,848 tons of products worth more than 21.5 million euros and exported 1.113 tons (6.5 million euros). Compared to 2014, exports have increased in quantity fourteen times, and by value eleven times. Approximately 88 percent of our total exports go to the EU market, and just over eleven percent go to CEFTA countries. We export the most to Slovenia (35.5 percent of total exports) and to Italy (28.1 percent),” stated Pletikosa.
”This event brings together and promotes prosciutto producers from all over the country, whose products are protected by a stamp of designation of origin, and labels of geographical origin (Krk, Dalmatian and Drniš prosciutto) at the EU level,” stated the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
Quality labels for consumers guarantee the purchase of authentic and properly controlled products, with recognised quality and a local origin. Protecting products without educating consumers and business partners about its proper valuation has no great benefit. Therefore, this event contributes to the strengthening of the recognisability of these Croatian meat products with higher added value and a better market positioning, all with the aim of developing the wider Croatian economy.