We all know some of the most popular Hungarian brands, such as Túri Rudi, the Boci chocolate, or the Sport chocolate bar. However, there are a couple of brands which have either disappeared, or very hard to come by. Hvg.hu discovered three such brands, and the places where you can buy them.
Ibolya Espresso on Ferenciek Square is the only place where you can buy Bambi, the iconic drink of the 1950s and 1960s Hungary. The drink has gradually disappeared from the stores and espressos, and the employees of Bambi said that it’s mainly the elderly who order the drink. The manufacturer, the Budapest Healing Baths and Hot Springs Co. Ltd. (BGYH) only makes about 5-6000 bottles a year, and gives a minimal amount to Ibolya Espresso every month.
The manufacturing company is owned by Budapest and they make the orange flavoured Bambi since 2002 based on their own recipe. Except for Ibolya Espresso no one is selling the drink, and it’s mainly used for “advertising and marketing purposes,” such as the 25th birthday of Fidesz.
The death of the Bambi brand was caused by Coca-Cola, which was introduced to Hungary in 1968 and was manufactured in the Kőbánya Liquor Factory. It was later relocated to the factory on the Margaret Island, and the manufacturing of Bambi was halted.
To have a successful brand nostalgia is not enough, Bálint Nagy, head of the marketing department at IBS (International Business School) said. Money is needed, and a little knowledge of marketing as well.
There are cases when a multinational store is not a guarantee for a drink or a type of food to become popular. Hvg.hu discovered the Leó ice cream at Tesco, even though it’s not summer. However, the brand is not advertised anywhere, and it’s not even listed on Nestlé’s Hungarian web page, and it doesn’t have a Facebook page either. According to the ice cream’s label it’s made in Poland, and although hvg.hu contacted Nestlé Hungary, they haven’t got any answer yet.
Leó was originally owned by Budatej, and was manufactured in Törökbálint since 1975. The company was later taken over by Schöller, and was bought by Nestlé in 2002. Schöller was then taken over by the Central group in 2009, and changed its name to Eispro Ltd. Eispro started to negotiate with Nestlé about the manufacturing of the ice cream, but Nestlé refused to let the company make 300,000 pieces/year, and relocated the manufacturing process to Poland, Gábor Reisz, manager of Eispro said.
Contrary to Bambi and Leó which are really hard to come by, more and more stores offer Mirelite products, which were brought back to the market by Mirsa Ltd. in 2010, later renamed to Mirelite Mirsa. The brand is 71 years old,
and was Europe’s firs quick-frozen brand in 1945. Mirelite is actually the acronym of Mezőgazdasági Ipari Részvénytársaság Elite (the Elite product of the Agricultural and Industrial Public Company), and soon found its way to the common language, and now almost everything that’s frozen is called “mirelit” in Hungarian.
Although many companies that sell products of the past can’t stand the word “retro,” as they aren’t building on nostalgia, but are selling products that are still alive today, Mirelite Mirsa is proud of its origins and organized a big event to celebrate the brand’s 70th birthday.
The company is constantly competing with big international brands, and it’s promoting the products with the stores. They are also trying the reach potential customers directly, with innovations such as the Mirelite Food Truck, where employees make the products on the spot during an event. The company also exports to 60 countries, usually under a different name, but Zoltán Sánta, executive of the company’s marketing and domestic affairs department, said that they are planning to export products under the Mirelite name, first to nearby countries where many Hungarian speakers live, and the brand might still be known.
Photo: Viktor Orbán’s personal Facebook page
Photo: Mirelite’s Facebook page
Copy editor: bm