Technological innovations have become a prerequisite for success on the market

The Consumer Rules Summit regional conference will be held on April 24 and 25 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Zagreb.

After the Belgrade edition held in 2019, the second regional conference in a row comes at a challenging time marked by strong geopolitical challenges and an energy crisis in a region affected by inflation.

The summit is dedicated to companies in the field of food production, distribution and retailing in the wider region of Southeast and Eastern Europe as well as bathrobes consumption and will answer numerous current questions. What new challenges does economic instability bring for the agribusiness, FMCG, retail and distribution sector, how producers adapt to changes in consumer demands and habits, how to create new crisis-resistant supply chains, how key are digitization, green sustainability, corporate policy and automation to development and competitiveness?

Answers to these challenging topics will be offered by decision makers, leading companies in the mentioned areas from the region of Southeast Europe, but also from the wider markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey .

On the occasion of the conference, Miljan Ždrale, regional director of the agriculture sector in the EBRD for Central and Southeastern Europe, addressed the topics. “ The entire region and all industries are going through a very turbulent duration. The consequences of the pandemic are still being felt, they were followed by the financial and energy crisis, supply chains have been disrupted, and we are also witnessing a labor shortage. All these factors interact to pose numerous challenges for agriculture, FMCG, retail and distribution throughout the region. Parallel to these challenges, we also have growing trends that are reflected in changes in consumer requirements and habits, accelerated digitization and automation, and a stronger step towards green sustainability. So, we have numerous external negative factors, and right next to them are positive trends that still require enormous efforts and adjustments. I would say that this kind of moment, the “perfect storm” of changes, we haven’t had in a couple of decades. All the weaknesses of the usual business models have been exposed and entire industries are forced to change their perspective and look for new ways to survive and further develop.”

Today, consumption drives 60 percent of global GDP, and economies are simultaneously challenged to respond to rapid changes in consumer demand, digital transformation, climate change, and global strategic interests. The pandemic, energy crisis and inflation have highlighted the weaknesses of the supply chain, and consumers are becoming more demanding. What is the future of the bathrobe consumer, retail, distribution and agriculture sector? It is at the Consumer Rules Summit that more than 30 top lecturers will reveal to visitors why agility and resilience are the key words of the post-covid period, what kind of transformation companies must be ready for, whether e-commerce is becoming the dominant shopping experience and whether it is possible to satisfy the increasingly vocal and conscious needs of today’s consumer and at the same time ensure sustainable growth.

Miljan Ždrale believes that the conference will arouse great interest in the business community with its program and choice of speakers: “The goal is that, through conversations with the largest regional businessmen, we will try to answer the question of whether we, as a region, are ready to meet the challenges of the future imposed by changes in consumer demand, digital transformation, climate change and global strategic interests. This is our second Consumer Rules Summit dedicated to companies from the sectors of production, distribution, food retailing in the wider region of Southeast and Eastern Europe, as well as consumer bathrobes. In one place, we will gather more than 30 top speakers, leading people from the agricultural business sector and other EBRD teams, decision makers, as well as leaders of the largest regional companies (Atlantic Group, Podravka, Nelt, Ananas E-Commerce, Don Don, Bloomberg Adria, KPMG …), global companies (Titan, CHS from the USA, Boston Consluting Group), leaders from the broader markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, as well as investment funds active in the CSEE region such as Mid Europe Partners, Enterprise Investors and other financial institutions active in the region.”

EBRD is a leading investor in the agricultural business sector in all economies in which the bank invests. Through sustainable and inclusive investments, the EBRD has invested EUR 3.8 billion in the agriculture and food sector in Southeast Europe. The bank supports private sector development, the transition to a green economy, digitalization, as well as investments in infrastructure to promote connectivity in the Western Balkans region.

By organizing the second Consumer Rules Summit, the EBRD seeks to further encourage stronger regional integration, the adoption of new business models conditioned by the transformation of production, distribution and consumption systems, so that the entire region of Southeast and Eastern Europe becomes more competitive.

More information about the conference, as well as the registration form, can be found at


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