Opportunities and obstacles in front of Bulgarian foods breaking through in the Romanian market

On May 30th 2017, there was a meeting between Bulgarian companies from the food industry. The meeting was organized by BRCCI and the goal was to provide information on what is required and what are the obstacles in front of Bulgarian companies from this sector, which they need to overcome in order to make it into the Romanian market.

The difficult access to Romanian buyers in the chain stores was discussed. “Buyers” are the employees, who accept and list new goods. The accidental contact with them is almost impossible, someone needs to introduce and recommend the Bulgarian producers to them and that someone should speak Romanian.

Another problem is that some of the Bulgarian food products are not very competitive. An example can be given with the meat and dairy sector, where the Romanian products are offered at very good prices. A possible solution to this can be offering products, which are different in taste compared to the Romanian ones, as well as products, which are not very common on the Romanian market.

In most cases, the Romanian chain stores prefer to work with already established brands, that’s why a Bulgarian company, which intends to make it in the local market with its own, unrecognizable brand, will experience difficulties. A possible solution to this is to supply a given product under the brand of the chain store itself and gradually to start offering products of your own brand or under a brand, which is specifically created for the Romanian market (meaning it should sound good in Romanian).

The high expenses for making it in the Romanian market, which come from the size of the territory and volume of the market, are not something, which many Bulgarian companies can afford. If they work directly with the chain stores, the companies would have to set up their own logistics chain, which means even more expenses for them. In the most common case, they would have to supply the stores of that chain store on the territory of the whole country and if they don’t have a large assortment of goods, they might have to organize a transport for over 500 km for a small number of products.

Common mistakes, which are made by Bulgarian companies, are the lack of a preliminary market research and the lack of knowledge on the volumes for different product categories in a given chain store (this can be found as a paid information).

There are not many free niches on the Romanian market. Romanian participant in the meeting said that if a product is competitive (with a good proportion of price/quality) and correctly positioned, then it will sell even if it’s not unique.

There were several proposals given at the meeting. One of them was to penetrate into the Romanian market through Bulgarian companies, which have already made it. They have at their disposal the contacts, the logistics, the experience and the knowledge of what is sought. That way, many mistakes and expenses can be avoided.

Another proposal was to create a representative spot somewhere in Bucharest, where Bulgarian companies from the food sector can exhibit their products in from of Romanian distributors and customers. That way, Romanian users can effectively get to know the Bulgarian products and get accustomed to their taste, which would facilitate their success on the Romanian market.

About Author: brcci