Aldi Hungary is further expanding its range of Hungarian-sourced products: the store chain buys basic dairy products from Hungarian suppliers, and from the beginning of next year, all eggs available in its stores will only come from Hungarian sources, it was told at a press conference in Budapest announced on Tuesday.
The announcement, aimed at expanding the supply of domestic origin and expanding the export opportunities of Hungarian agriculture and domestic food processors to Europe, was welcomed at the event by Minister of Agriculture István Nagy and called forward-looking. He added that he hopes other food chains will follow Aldi’s example. He emphasized that the support of activities related to the production of milk and eggs is also central to Hungarian agricultural policy.
The head of the ministry welcomed the fact that the consumption of milk and dairy products has increased in Hungary in recent years, and “we are among the first in the EU in terms of milk yield”. The government is “using all possible means” to support producers to stay that way, he said.
István Nagy mentioned as an example that from April to November HUF 1031 billion worth of new calls for proposals were issued under the Rural Development Program, the HUF 360 billion call for larger-scale development of livestock farms was reopened, and a 30 billion call for smaller developments was announced. With the help of the tenders, the establishment and modernization of almost 40,000 places in the cattle sector can be realized, he explained.
The Minister also spoke about the fact that agricultural development subsidies also help egg production, thanks to which Hungary can become self-sufficient in this respect. He cited as a positive trend that domestic production increased to more than one billion units and per capita consumption from 215 to 243 units per year.
Ádám Pusztai, Purchasing Director of Aldi Hungary, announced that he would further expand the range of products made from Hungarian raw materials by domestic processing plants. He added that 65 of their basic dairy products are made from milk from Hungarian farmers in Hungary, and will soon introduce new dairy products from Hungarian sources. From the beginning of next year, all the eggs sold by the company – about 90 million pieces – including organic eggs – were announced from Hungarian sources. He said that the company sells more than 40 million liters of milk a year, 1,000 tons of lump cheese, 2,800 tons of Trappist cheese, about 10 million pieces of sour cream, 7 million pieces of kefir and 3.5 million pieces of natural yoghurt, all from Hungarian sources providing a stable domestic market and livelihood for thousands of people in domestic agriculture. Ádám Pusztai also announced that their company intends to further strengthen the export opportunities of Hungarian agriculture and domestic food processors. Their goal is for as many Hungarian companies as possible to reach the European market with a population of 430 million through Aldi Hungary and the Aldi North and Aldi South group’s 8,500 European stores.
According to Balázs Győrffy, President of the National Chamber of Agriculture (NAK), Aldi’s decision should be seen as an important first step in the right direction, which, if more, will lead to a “positive spiral in Hungarian agriculture”. Zoltán Harcz, the chairman of the Milk Product Council, recalled Aldi’s decision: the product council and the food chain had set the goal for five years for Hungarian dairy farmers and processors to be able to serve Hungarian retail chains with domestic milk and dairy products. Presenting the results of the sector, he reported that milk consumption per capita “crossed the magical 200-kilogram mark again after twenty years” and that after 16 years the amount of raw milk produced is again above 2 billion kilograms. Imre Szép, the president of the Hungarian Egg Association, also congratulated the food chain on its decision, and at the same time suggested continuing the cooperation and dialogue so that the producers receive the average cost and minimum profit for their products. Eszter Benedek, Managing Director of Magyar Produkto Nonprofit Kft. also mentioned that customers bought several Hungarian products during the pandemic.