Poland, brief agricultural news week 10, 2020
What happened in Poland last week? A brief overview of agricultural news.
New food quality control system in Poland
On 1 July 2020, the amended Act on the commercial quality of agri-food products will enter into force, under which two inspections presently controlling the quality of food are merged: part of the Trade Inspection and the Trade Quality Inspection of Agricultural and Food Products. The extended Trade Quality Inspection of Agricultural and Food Products (IJHARS) will operate under the supervision of the Minister of Agriculture. The new regulations are intended to unify, streamline and increase the effectiveness of food quality control and cause more effective elimination of unfair trade practices.
Currently, the Trade Inspection, which reports to the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, controls the quality of products in shops and in gastronomy. In contrast, IJHARS subordinated to the Ministry of Agriculture checks the quality at the producers and in wholesalers.
The extended IJHARS will comprehensively cover all stages of quality controls: production, import, processing, transport, storage and trade - throughout the entire supply chain from "farm to fork". It is also important that the new IJHARS be strengthened by 150 full-time staff, as well as five specialized laboratories with employees. Currently 660 people work in IJHARS, both at the central level and in 16 of its provincial branches. On 1 July 2020, the provincial branches will be strengthened by 95 people, i.e. on average 6 people per inspectorate, and the Chief Inspectorate (central level) will include 5 laboratories with 25 posts. From 1 July 2020, new tasks will be implemented, i.e. supervision over the retail market, gastronomy and catering, food contact materials, petfood.
Introducing the new IJHARS, the Minister of Agriculture noted that each inspection is random and it is impossible to examine all products, so it is important that consumer organizations report their comments and point out possible pathologies. The Minister informed that the Code of Food Ethics was developed, which was the subject of discussions and arrangements with representatives of organizations dealing with food production and trade as well as specialists in the field of economics and food ethics.
According to the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, with the new regulations consumer rights will be better protected, as the provisions will allow publishing information about producers with whom irregularities were found - therefore the consumer will have much better information about which products are better to buy from and which are not.
It should be noted that the present government, when entering the power in 2015, presented the idea of creating one institution overseeing all food safety (i.e. combining all inspections over food safety, e.g. veterinary, sanitary, plant and food quality inspections). However, as pointed out by the Minister of Agriculture, in the current situation, when there is African swine fever in Poland and avian influenza, this is not possible for now.
Source: PAP, MARD
Increasing e-shopping in Poland
The number of e-stores in Poland has been growing for years, but over 7,700 new online retailers in 2019 is an absolute record. The Polish e-commerce market is already worth over PLN 50 billion, and its growth remains at the level of several percent per year. In 2019, there were 7748 online stores in Poland. The Polish e-commerce market has been at the forefront of the fastest growing in Europe for years. In addition, the ban on trading on Sunday, which has been in force since March 2018, is another argument for consumers to switch to buying online. Currently, over 60% of internet users buy online and the share will continue to grow. While most Internet users started their adventure with e-shopping by purchasing books, films or music CDs and electronics, the list of categories is getting longer and longer. Electronics still have a high market share and about 20% of equipment is already bought via Internet. The growth leaders are elsewhere e.g. according to the Allegro sales platform, in 2019, the fastest sales were in house and garden category and in cosmetics, which increased by 32%. Also the supermarket category, i.e. packaged food products, has grown by 30%. The Polish e-commerce market has been at the forefront of the fastest growing in Europe for years. Clothing online shops are doing great in Poland and in terms of consumer purchasing indications, this online sector is a leader and continues to grow very quickly. According to experts, in the coming years, a more dynamic increase in the importance of online grocery trade should be expected. Currently e-grocery accounts for less than 1% of total e-commerce in Poland, and online shopping is only 0.7% sales within the FMCG sector. The Polish consumer is increasingly checking the internet for food supplies. Thanks to convenient platforms and e-grocery stores, it's easier to integrate with modern payments and delivery methods.
Carrefour Invests in Convenience Stores
Carrefour supermarket chain opened 10 convenience stores in the franchise format since the beginning of the year in Poland and it is planning to open even more. According to the company, convenience stores are the most dynamically developing store format on the Polish market. Director for convenience stores at Carrefour Polska Michal Florkiewicz said that there are currently over 650 convenience stores under Carrefour brand in Poland. The company has three formats of these stores, that is the orange Carrefour Express Convenience, which is the urban self-service shop with a large offer of ready meals and takeout, as well as the green Carrefour Express Minimarket with more fresh produce, meat or eco foods, and Carrefour Express Convenience for petrol stations open 24/7.
Source: PNB Economic Review