Serbia – Country of Natural Food

Located in the heart of South-East Europe, with ideal continental climate, fertile river valleys, sunny mountain landscapes, and Vojvodina plain as one of the largest granaries of Europe, Serbia boasts ideal natural conditions for growing crops, fruits and vegetables. The soil is still one of the cleanest in Europe, and most of the agriculture products are grown in perfect conditions.

When speaking of fruits, it has to be emphasized that it is hand-picked, carefully stored, and packaged in order to attain the highest possible quality and a unique flavor. Serbia’s diverse climate and ample land resources also create unique opportunities for the development of primary vegetable production.

Fruit production is one of the key sub-sectors of Serbia’s economic development and therefore given a strategic treatment by the Government of Serbia. In 2014 export of Serbian fruits increased for 11,4%, comparing to 2013, thanks to the increased production volumes of agricultural products and the use of new technologies.

In 2013 Serbia accounted for more than 40% of entire EU production and around 24% of global raspberry production. With around 68,000 tons produced and export revenues amounting to $230 million, Serbia was the largest exporter of raspberries in 2013 globally.

Around 80-85% of raspberry production is intended for export, mainly frozen in bulk. This constitutes a huge potential for investors who are thinking to start a production of final products with all kinds of different berries such as: spreads, jams, toppings, ingredients for ice-cream industry, fruit cubes for yoghurt production, etc.

Due to ideal climate conditions in southern Serbia, Serbian Oblacinska sour cherry reaches a global maximum of 19-21 briks. Depending on the season, annual export of Oblacinska is more than 90,000 tons and it is being used by all major European food-processing factories. Beside this, plums occupy more than 50% of orchards in Serbia, namely 42 million trees. They are mostly used for production of domestic plum brandy internationally known as “sljivovica”, while a minor part is used for drying and processing into plum jam and plum confiture, the most common breakfast sweet spread.

Serbia also has excellent climate conditions for vegetable production, which makes Serbia the main exporter and supplier of the South Eastern Europe. The most popular vegetables produced in Serbia are: paprika (pepper), cabbage, tomato and potato. Pepper production is oriented towards pasteurized pepper in different forms: shredded, cooked and roasted. Due to dry matter in it, majority of red pepper is used for production of aromatic spices, but also for preparing a traditional Serbian winter dish – “Ajvar”spread. Ajvar is prepared using a special recipe, with red peppers and eggplants, and could nowadays easily be found on every continent. Serbia has two very famous markets and pepper production centers: Leskovac area for production of dry and fresh pepper and northern Serbia for production of mild, hot, and crushed pepper for industrial spices. EU food processing industry is well acquainted with the quality of Serbian red pepper, as it is heavily using it for processing. Region around the city of Futog is famous for producing cabbage good both to be used fresh and for further processing. For example, Futoski cabbage is perfect for making Sauerkraut.

An excellent raw material base, network of FTAs (Free Trade Agreements), long tradition of high-quality food production and strong regional brands are key reasons world class companies have come to Serbia. The agro-food sector accounts for a massive proportion of foreign direct investments, whether in terms of value or of the number of projects.

By the means of the set of free trade agreements Serbia serves as a platform for duty-free export of foodstuff to a market of more than 800 million people. In addition to being the only country outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that has a free trade agreement with the Russian Federation, Serbia has such an agreement with the European Union and a number of other countries. That particular fact makes it a bridge between the east and the west and a hub for Euro/Asian market. Free trade agreements with EU, EFTA, CEFTA and Turkey allow for mutual accumulation of origin, as do the agreements with Custom Union of Russia, Belorussia and Kazakhstan, respectively. Export of agricultural products is on a constant rise and so is the trade balance that stood close to a billion euros in 2013. Serbia is the biggest exporter of foodstuff among CEFTA countries and the only net exporter.

In addition to excellent raw materials and conditions for producing high-quality, healthy food in Serbia, investors can also enjoy strong support from Serbia’s widely recognized fruit-research institutes. Research mainly focuses on technologically-advanced production that leads to high quality, environmentally-friendly seeds and vegetable crop production. Moreover, Serbian law prohibits the production and import of any genetically modified (GMO) foods and seeds.

Made-in-Serbia food is present around the globe, from Japan to the US, and is sold under Serbian brands and through world’s largest supermarket chains such as Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Spar, Carrefour, Metro, Idea, Leader price, X5 Retail group, Magnit, Auchan Group and Dixie Group, Kopeika, and Rewe. In the 2014, Serbia exported $2.8 billion of agriculture produce, which is for 12.3% higher than in the same period last year, making it one of the few industry sectors recording a trade surplus ($1.3 billion). International customers keep increasing orders for Serbian truffles, raspberries, apples, corn, juices, concentrates, purees, jams, frozen and dried fruit and other first-class produce.

Over the past decade, Serbian food industry highlighted the list of most attractive sectors for foreign investors. United States’ PepsiCo, Molson Coors, German NordZucker, Austrian Rauch, United Kingdom’s Mid Europa Partners, Denmark’s Carlsberg, and Belgium’s AB InBev and many others have built their factories in Serbia in order to supply local, but even more so markets of EU and the ever growing Russian market.

Serbian food products can also be found at the Sweden market. For many years Sweden is the most important economic partner of Serbia within the Nordic countries, but there still are plenty of possibilities for increasing mutual cooperation. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, overall Serbian export to Sweden amounted €50 million, and imported goods from Sweden in the amount of almost €170 million.

Serbian food producers also participate within National stand of Serbia, organized by Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA), at the most prestigious world fairs such as World Food Moscow, Anuga, Sial, etc.

For more information on Serbia food sector please visit

For more information on food producers please visit

Sirogojno Company

One of the leading food exporters from Serbia, and surely overall leader in exporting to Sweden is Sirogojno Co.

Sirogojno Co. is a family owned and run company. It was founded in 1991 in the village named Sirogojno in the region of Mount Zlatibor in Western Serbia. Ever since it has grown into one of the largest processors of frozen and dried fruit from Serbia, exporting in 35 countries across 4 continents. The core of the company’s business is the cooperation with the local community, the farmers who grow the fruit that is later processed and distributed by Sirogojno Co. across the world. The number of farmers is close to 4,000. The cooperation with them is based on continuous support by Sirogojno Co.’s field and crop experts, help through crediting for the purchase of fertilizers, irrigation systems and plant protection as well as educational seminars organized during the winter months. In addition to that, Sirogojno Co. aims at improving the quality of life within the region by initiating and carrying out numerous projects in order to improve infrastructure, health care and educational system as well as the cultural offer of the region. Sirogojno Company strives at combining the tradition of fruit growing and the favorable climatic conditions of the region with the latest standards in the food industry in order to produce best quality fruit at the highest possible level of food safety.

The products of Sirogojno Co. are divided into two areas – frozen and dried fruit. Within the two areas the products are divided into products packed for the retail and the ones processed for further industrial use. This diversification helps to attract a larger number of potential clients and markets. Besides raspberries, Sirogojno Co. is processing blackberries, wild blueberries, plums, sour cherries, black and red currants and strawberries among others. The dried fruits are produced through the process of sugar infusion which helps keep the color, structure and taste of the fruit and preserves it guaranteeing shelf life.

The production facilities of Sirogojno Co. are all certified according to IFS, BRC and ISO22000. Furthermore, the company fulfills the BSCI and Sedex social standards and the company’s farmers are GlobalGAP certified. The equipment used for processing is of the latest standards in the industry and helps to assure a maximum level of hygienic standards and well as product quality and safety.

Sirogojno Co.’s export markets are the US and Canada, Japan, Australia, and most of the EU countries including Sweden, which has been an important market to the company ever since the introduction of its products in 2001. Since then the volume of products exported grew by nearly 20 times and more products and packages have been introduced.

A fair price paired with superb quality have been the key to success on the Swedish market for the last 14 years, especially when it comes to retail. Sirogojno Co. has build a successful relationship with ICA packing their private labels and assuring the highest possible quality and product safety to both the client as well as to the end consumers. Swedish consumers are very conscious towards ethical standards throughout the production chain, so company’s dedication to social responsibility has been an important aspect for building a successful and sustainable relationship with Swedish companies.

By Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency and Sirogojno Co.

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SweTurk organized a joint mission to Malaysia

SweTurk has organized a joint mission to Malaysia with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

In this buying mission met companies with Malaysian manufacturers and exporters at Kuala Lumpur. The meetings had the focus on fashion related products which include garment, apparel and fashion accessories, footwear and jewelry and cosmetics products.

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Conference on Business Networking

Conference on Business Networking by STBC Gothenburg to foster business relations between West Sweden and Turkey

Swedish-Turkish Business Cooperation (STBC) – a SWETURK member, organized a conference on Business Networking at Läppstiftet Konferens on November 14th, 2013. The title of the conference was: “Business Networking as a strengthful tool of B2B Marketing and Turkish model of Business Networking”. As the first large event organized in Gothenburg by STBC, this conference was aimed to shed the light on different aspects of business networking – such as important role of B2B networking in contemporary business world, specificities of business networking done by different type of organizations on different levels, and Turkish model of business networking and best practices.

Ulf LANDIN – Director International Relations of Business Region Göteborg made an opening speech and touched upon the business opportunities in Gothenburg region, the possibilities of increasing in import/export between Gothenburg and Turkey in future.

Afterwards, the speakers were invited to the panel and Mr. Adem KUMCU (President of UNITEE) – the moderator of the conference took the floor.

Mr. KUMCU talked about the importance of business networking, the activities carried out in this field throughout Europe and contribution of “new Europeans” to this tendency, and then invited the first speaker of the conference to the stage.


The first speech was made by Mrs. Maria THYLÉN from MiG – Marknadsföreningen i Göteborg (Gothenburg Marketing Association). Mrs. THYLÉN talked on “Marketing and Networking on the local level in Gothenburg” and explained how efficient business networking could be done both on local and international levels by providing examples from her personal professional life and MiG experience.

Mrs. Gunilla ALMGREN – Chairman of Företagarna Göteborg and President of UEAPME, delivered a speech on “Business relationships and networking among/with SMEs” by presenting very interesting and detailed information about peculiarities of business networking among and with SMEs in Europe.

Later on, Mr. Jesper ÖHRN – Head of International Department, Västsvenska Handelskammaren (West Sweden Chamber of Commerce) presented a speech on “International business network – developing global business”, which successfully addressed the interest of audience. Mr. ÖHRN talked about global business networking, brought interesting examples from real life experiences and gave tips on distinctive peculiarities of Swedish businesspeople.

Mrs. Fahriye Özlem NUDRALI – Foreign Trade Expert from Ministry of Economy (Republic of Turkey), talked on “Governmental support and challenges for B2B relationships with Turkey” – mentioned Turkey’s fast-growing economy during recent years, the contribution of governmental economic policy to this growth and the role of business networking in this term.

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STBC in cooperation with MiG, organised a business trip to Istanbul

SweTurk member Swedish-Turkish Business Cooperation (STBC) – a member of SWETURK, made a business trip to Istanbul in cooperation with Gothenburg Marketing Association (MiG – Marknadsföreningen i Göteborg).

The group consisted of 56 businessmen coming from 36 different companies based in Gothenburg and 3 persons from STBC. A very succesful partnership cooperation has been experienced between STBC and Turkish Businessmen and Industrials both during the organization of this trip and during the three days spent in Istanbul.

MiG/STBC Istanbul trip has started with the meetings with different companies and organizations. First, Mr. Jörgen Thelin and Ms. Kristina Soeiro – from Roxtec and Lindex respectively – the Swedish companies operating in Turkey, informed the participants from Gothenburg about the companies they represent, business environment peculiarities in Turkey, etc. The meeting went on in a very sincere atmosphere and ended with the presentation of gifts to the speakers and bilateral meetings.

Later on, the second speech was given by Mr. Ahmet Cüneyt Selçuk – Chief Project Manager of Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) which is a business body directly connected to the Prime Ministry of Republic of Turkey. Mr. Selçuk made a distinctively interesting presentation on the importance of Turkish economy on the global scale, country’s fast growing tendency which is not actual any more for many EU countries, attractive investment opportunities generated in Turkey for foreign companies and services the Agency can provide to potential investors. After answering questions of the businessmen from Gothenburg and receiving a present from MiG, Mr. Ahmet Cüneyt Selçuk left the floor for the final guest speaker.

Mr. Antoine Fanoun – Market Unit Mnager of “Business Sweden” or Swedish Trade & Invest Council (previously ExportRådet) gave a speech on Turkey’s economic progress during the recent years, the differences between Sweden and Turkey in terms of investment and trade regulations and experinces, distinguishing characteristics which sould be taken into consideration by new investors and how Business Sweden can assist the potential investors from Gothenburg in many different issues. The last meeting also concluded in a warm atmosphere by the presentation of a gift to Mr. Antoine Fanoun and bilateral meetings.

After the meetings, Secretary General of STBC – Fuad Mammadli exclusively presented the informational materials on Gothenburg’s business environment and potential attractive sectors for investment (presented by Göteborg Business Region, a business body directly connected with Gothenburg Municipality). Thus, the main purpose of the trip – presentation of Turkey to the business people from Gothenburg and promotion of Gothenburg to Turkish business community – was accomplished. Afterwards, a group of approximately 60 persons conducted a sightseeing tour in Istanbul.

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The role of SME in the process of integration

SweTurk and UNITEE jointly organized a major conference dedicated to Achievements and Challenges to Sweden’s Integration Policies-Focus on SMEs.

Swedish Minister for Integration Erik Ullenhag has talked about Swedish perspective of integration. He said that there are many Swedish entrepreneurs with roots in Turkey who are central to our prosperity.

Other speakers were Staffan Nilsson President of the EESC, Gunilla Almgren from UEAPME and Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MP European Parliament.

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Strategic partnership between SweTurk and SUITS

SweTurk Federation was the strategic partner and co-founder of Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).

SUITS is an exciting initiative and a special institute that can contribute towards a better understanding, dialogue and collaboration between Sweden and Turkey. SUITS is in a unique position to identify the scale and scope of possible areas of collaboration between Sweden and Turkey, enumerate current problems and opportunities affecting the relations between the two countries and develop practical and viable suggestions for policy making.

SUITS is an institute with great potential and can greatly contribute to both theory and practice when it comes to Swedish-Turkish relations. As a strategic partner, SweTurk has shared its suggestions and create collective wisdom that can guide SUITS in its future actions and strategies in the most effective and efficient way.

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