ABC cheese as Belje’s export champion

15. December 2021.

ABC cream cheese is one of the leading regional brands, available in markets across the Adria region. With forty years of production tradition, ABC cheese is also one of the longest-lived brands in the market, which generations of consumers have grown up with. Its production has been close to maximum capacities for the past five years, and more than half of the total production is exported. ABC cheese is now available in 20 markets in three continents, and its sales growth did not slow down even in the global pandemic.

On the contrary, the demand increased in the Croatian market during the pandemic, and peaked during this year’s successful tourist season, at the beginning of which sales were up 15%. Several projects were launched to maximise its performance in the export markets in the region, all of which were successfully completed this year, including contracts with new distributors.

The excellent performance of ABC cheese is even more important in the context of the new Common Agricultural Policy, adopted late last month by the European Parliament, which prioritises competitive agriculture that produces high-quality food for Europe’s citizens while providing the residents of rural areas with a decent living. ABC cheese is a true local product, produced only from the milk from Belje’s farms, and traceable from the farm to the fork. It is also one of the few Croatian dairy products that are successfully exported worldwide.

Tomislav Radišić, Director of Belje’s Dairy Plants in Osijek and Beli Manastir, explains: “You have two options in food production: either you make your own inputs and cover the entire production cycle, or you are a processor who just makes a final product from whatever is available in the market. Forty-one years ago, Belje launched the production of ABC cheese from the milk made at our own farms, and we have remained true to this concept to this day. Our takeover of the Osijek Dairy Plant and our continuous investments in primary milk production are the best proof of our strategic commitment to local dairy production. Just as the EU is world-famous for its food and culinary traditions, Croatia has its own prized foods that are authentic and universally acceptable, such as the ABC cream cheese. Croatia imports a lot of food, especially added-value food, and our example shows that, after meeting the local needs, we can export some of our high-quality products, as all successful agricultural EU member states are doing.”

The ABC cream cheese is essentially a very simple product, made from only three ingredients: milk, cream, and a little sea salt. The secret to its success lies in its authentic taste and the superb quality of its basic ingredients. Proper nutrition and the well-being of the cows at each of Belje’s farms, local cream production, and premium sea salt from the Adriatic Sea are all equally important. These are the essential ingredients for the production of the ABC cream cheese, loved by generations of Croatian and foreign consumers.

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