17:22 28 November 2021
Post by: WBJ

Ambassadors' Corner 9

Slovenian Ambassador, Božena Forštnarič Boroje, tells WBJ about veganism and vegetarianism, migration, and upcoming Christmas celebrations

Ambassadors' Corner 9

In Poland, the plant-based protein sources market increased by 28 percent in 2020, which is more than €130 million, according to a Polish business daily. Meanwhile, Warsaw has been named as the sixth most vegan-friendly city in the world by Happy Cow, the world’s largest guide to vegan and vegetarian-friendly businesses worldwide. How popular are vegan and vegetarian dishes in your country? How big are the vegan and vegetarian food markets in your country?

Božena Forštnarič Boroje: According to the Slovenian Vegan Society (SVD), the vegan products trend in Slovenia is similar to the rest of the world. Demand, as well as sales, are constantly growing, which is clearly visible in stores. All major retailers have their own line of vegan products. Quite a few companies that produce vegan products can be found in Slovenia and some of them have also made their way to larger retail chains. However, many smaller companies with innovative products are still waiting for this breakthrough and are currently selling their products in smaller (local) specialty health food stores or their products are available in selected Slovenian restaurants. In the largest Slovenian retail chain, Mercator, there are about 700 types of vegetarian products. The volume growth in 2020 was 20% y/y. Other retail chains, like Hofer and Lidl, share similar findings.

An unprecedented number of migrants have moved to Poland in recent years. For the fourth year in a row, Poland has granted the most first residence permits to immigrants coming into the EU, the latest Eurostat data reveals. How popular (in numbers) is your country with migrants? Where are they primarily from?

In 2020, 76,423 residence permits (temporary and permanent) were issued in Slovenia. The top five countries with the highest number of Slovenian residence permits issued in 2020 are Bosnia and Herzegovina (almost 50%), Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Russia. The overall number of all residence permits (citizens of non-EU countries) valid on December 31, 2020, was around 180,000 (93,344 permanent residence permits, 79,600 temporary residence permits, out of which 53,840 permits were issued for the purpose of work).

Christmas 2020 was the first Christmas to get through the Covid-19 restrictions. In your country, how are Christmas 2021 celebrations going to be different than those of last year’s? Are there any limits on indoor gatherings or travel (domestic/foreign)?

The rise of new infections has slowed down. The current situation in hospitals is stable. The full vaccination rate is currently at 52%. We are hopeful Christmas will be more festive than in 2020. To prevent further increase of infections and another lockdown, the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule (RVT rule) must be met by all users of services or activities, with some exceptions. Currently, gatherings are permitted to groups of up to 50 persons only unless they are close family members or share the same household. Gatherings of more than 50 people at organized public events and assemblies are permitted indoors and outdoors, but attendees must meet the RVT rule. Attendees below 15 years are exempt. Facemasks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and in those outdoor public premises where the minimum 1.5-meter social distancing cannot be attained.

božena forštnarič boroje
veganism and vegetarianism

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