December 07, 2005

Central and Eastern Europe: proceed with caution, 3i warns the food industry

Part of the press release from 3i following my speech in Prague 10 days ago to food and drink industry analysts, investors, bankers:

The Central European region contains 100 million consumers with rising incomes and an appetite for higher quality products. Combine this with the lower wages prevalent throughout the region and it makes for a highly attractive market for retailers and manufacturers alike.

Dr Patrick Dixon, one of Europe's leading futurologists, is optimistic about the potential for food and drink companies in Central Europe, but he cautions companies to be aware of the long-term economic, social and political drivers affecting the region. "It is a common mistake to group the Central and Eastern European countries together. Each is radically different and any company wanting to succeed needs to fully understand the dynamics of each market and get under its skin," he comments.

3i's global head of food and drink, Keith Ellis agrees, "There is no doubt the region represents a first-class opportunity for European food and beverage producers, but for successful strategies, the devil will be in the detail, in terms of location, product, distribution and timing."
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