When it comes to Croatia’s most-famous brands, the cooking condiment Vegeta is pretty much at the top of the tree. Its instantly-recognisable blue packaging and iconic chef’s head mascot can be seen at supermarkets across much of the world. No wonder, then, that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic smiled warmly and laughed when presented with a special edition Vegeta carton, which replaced the face of its famous chef’s mascot with his own.
© Danica.hr / Podravka
The Croatian Prime Minister was on a visit to the Koprivnica-based makers of the world-famous condiment when he was presented with the special edition Vegeta. The gift was donated to him by the management of Podravka, the company that makes Vegeta.
Mr Plenkovic’s visit actually took place some time ago, but the picture of the presentation of the special edition Vegeta only came to light on Tuesday 2 February 2021 when published in danica.hr, after it had appeared in the Podravka factory newsletter.
The iconic Vegeta chef, who has what some might describe as a ‘French moustache’, has been the mascot of the most famous exported Croatian food product for many decades. He was put on the packaging way back in 1964 and has been a featured part of Vegeta packaging ever since.
Vegeta packaging through the years, with the ever-present ‘French chef’ mascot © Podravka
The Vegeta condiment celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019. Vegeta was first devised in 1959 at the food laboratory of Podravka by a team led by Professor Zlate Bartl. In Koprivnica, where it was first made. they call it Podravka’s loose gold because Vegeta was the fastest-selling product of the company in its early years and the main reason for the rapid development of the company. Vegeta is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.