An interview with Mr Helmut Anton Fenzl, CEO at SPAR Croatia
With vegan products under the SPAR Veggie brand we seek to meet the demand of the increasing number of our customers who have often been sending us requests for the expansion of our vegan product mix. SPAR Veggie is an excellent choice for all those who want to have a balanced diet but do not have sufficient time, knowledge or fresh ideas as how to prepare a tasty meatless meal.
All our products have been granted the certificate of the European Vegetarian Union, meaning that we guarantee that the products are 100% meatless. Also, the majority of products are ecologically grown and bear the eco-label.
How do the customers respond to your veggie-line products?
There is an increasing number of people who willingly decide to reduce meat intake into the body. Many people do not give up the meat-eating habit altogether, but are determined to consume meatless meals two or three times a week. That trend is ever more present among young people, teenagers and especially with female population. These are the inevitable changes that are becoming more and more common; we are trying to adapt to the fact and the response from our customers is ever so positive.
The offer of vegan products on the shelves of SPAR stores is becoming increasingly more varied. Are you planning to further expand your vegan product line?
Definitely, we seek to expand the product mix in the future. We closely monitor product mixes on offer in the neighbouring countries. New products first appear in Austria and Italy and afterwards we try and offer such innovations to Croatian customers as soon as possible.
Why have you decided to take part in ZeGeVege Festival?
ZeGeVege Festival is primarily aimed at people who lead vegan lifestyle and consume vegan food. That is the most relevant and biggest event of its kind in Croatia. We are especially pleased to notice that after the Croatia’s accession to the EU, the number of foreign exhibitors is constantly increasing.
Ban Jelacic Square is an ideal location because it offers an opportunity to present vegan food to a large number of people, which is the very purpose of the Festival anyhow.
This is the third year that we participate in the Festival and each year we invest more and more into it because it is a perfect opportunity for us to show everything we have to offer.
How does SPAR contribute to the sustainability of living and to what extent is, in your opinion, sustainable living important for our planet?
We are continuously working on it, but there still are lot of possibilities within. SPAR is dedicated to the protection of environment, therefore we are using waste energy from our refrigerated display cases for heating of our premises and we are installing LED lighting in all our new buildings also. We are achieving outstanding results in recycling; only last year we have recycled more than 2,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard. Over the last few years we have been helping Caritas soup-kitchens with bread donations. We are eagerly waiting for the change of law on food donations due to the fact that we ourselves have spoken publicly about the issue on several occasions.
SPAR gladly participates in animal protection campaigns and for two years so far we have been providing for the abandoned dogs at Sirius association in Pozega, and we always readily join all the campaigns launched with the aim to help abandoned animals.