Croatian Hot Sauce Wins Over Domestic and Foreign Buyers

Lauren Simmonds



As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes on the 17th of September, 2020, the Croatian hot sauce brand I love it hot/Volim ljuto has succeeded by continuously investing in business, expanding it, and actively winning over both domestic and foreign audiences.

Although the coronavirus crisis has slightly slowed down this Croatian hot sauce brand’s business and plans, they have managed to increase the number of seedlings under their belt this year as well and as such they can realistically expect higher yields. This Croatian hot sauce story initially began seven years ago with the opening of a family farm, and two years later they opened a company for retail, wholesale and brand marketing.

“At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we had an investment in ten new greenhouses with a total area of ​​1,500 square metres. We also planned to complete the expansion of the processing plant, but this is now going a bit slower due to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve increased the number of seedlings, but not significantly because we expect a yield of up to 40 percent higher than last year due to the new greenhouses. So, it’s the same area where in which we have a higher yield. The area on which we grow our produce today is just under one hectare in size, and all our plantations are under greenhouses or anti-hail nets, so the weather won’t have a major impact on our yield,” revealed Goran Vrabec, the director and founder of the Croatian hot sauce company Volim ljuto.

When they originally started out, they had only a few hot sauces to their name, and today the offer is much wider and in total, along with their seasonal items and gift packages, that number has risen to about two hundred products. Volim ljuto’s products can be bought through their webshop or in their Spicy Days stores in Zagreb at Ilica 174, and the main products from this Croatian hot sauce company’s range can be purchased throughout Croatia in small specialty stores they work with, such as Veronika delicacies.

”Our Spicy Days shop has been having good results. The level of interest and the sales have grown over time and we’re now well known as the shop has been around for over three years. In it we have more than 1000 different items, not only Croatian products but also brands from all over the world. Of course, Croatian producers also have their place, especially when it comes to craft breweries. While the store wasn’t operating, we compensated the sales revenue through online sales, which increased drastically during that period.

We had good cooperation with craft brewers who sold their beer through our web shop, that is, we were their platform for their sales, and they delivered it themselves. We kept that part of the offer even after the reopening,”  explained Vrabec.

Of the Croatian hot sauce company’s total revenue, the webshop brings them about 35 percent, and they also cooperate with more than 350 restaurants and other catering and hospitality facilities. And that number is growing.

”Our best-selling products are our fermented sauces, Vrabasco, Vrabanero and Brutalero, which share equal sales throughout the year. The total amount of these nine sauces produced annually is about 25,000 pieces. We’re currently working on new spice salts that will be in a new package with a practical grinder and on one specific sauce with a recipe from the Far East. The last product we presented was the Green Cherry hot sauce, which was made according to the recipe of the winner of last year’s HomeChili competition for the best hot sauce,” revealed Vrabec.

The director of Volim ljuto also revealed that they export smaller quantities of their products to specialised stores across the European Union (EU), and that they even place their products on Amazon through partners. They are also known for their collaborations with other Croatian producers and family farms from which new hit products are created.

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