How to buy vegetarian and vegan products in Croatia

vegan products in croatia
Vegan section of Spar supermarket in Zagreb, Croatia

PUBLISHED: 22.4.2024.

Being vegetarian was never too hard in Croatia because Croatians eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but being vegan has its challenges. The biggest one is that you can’t have coffee or lunch wherever you want and that there are not enough stores specifically dedicated to selling vegan products in Croatia.

However, so many new vegan products and vegan and vegetarian shops are introduced every year that your exploration of veggie options in Croatia will be a blast. Let’s see what Croatia offers to people who do not like to eat meat.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Why eat vegan and vegetarian products in Croatia

Croatia has clean air, good-quality soil, no GMOs, and thousands of local farms that sell produce and homemade products. Living in Croatia, especially in rural areas, can be considered healthy on its own. But if you add organic food, your health wins the lottery.

Croatians are characteristically inclined to have their own gardens if they have enough space in their yards. They also cultivate vineyards, fruit trees, olive groves, and herbs. Learn more about gardening in Croatia here.

Many Croatians collect mushrooms in the forest and are familiar with the harvesting seasons. They live in sync with nature, so their way of living is attractive to foreigners who want to try a laid-back lifestyle.

When Croatians buy vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheese, or honey, they rarely like to choose mass-produced products. If they can buy local and homemade, they always do so. Unfortunately, with tons of people living in cities and struggling financially, sometimes these products are out of their reach since their prices are higher.

If you want to live a Croatian lifestyle, start looking for local OPGs that sell all kinds of products, visit your local farmers market, buy from small producers, and ask your friends where they get the best products. Word of mouth is very strong in Croatia, especially if it is about food.

[Read: How to understand the Croatian culture]

Where to buy vegan products in Croatia?

Vegan products can be found in various places, including farmers’ markets, grocery stores, health food stores, and OPGs. What is characteristic of vegan products produced in Croatia is that they are few but very high quality.

Croatian farmers market

Farmers’ market is the first place to turn when you want to buy fresh produce. In Croatia, every city and almost every village has some type of farmers’ market or voćarnica (fruit store) where you can find high-quality local produce.

Farmers’ market doesn’t sell just fruits and vegetables. There, you can find homemade cheese, honey, fish, meat, herbs, oils, sweets, and much more. Sellers on the markets are usually OPGs who book the boots for the season.

View our shopping guides:

Most of the products in Croatian farmers’ markets are never found in supermarkets because these producers are too small to compete with corporations selling their products nationwide. However, their products are often superior in quality. I recommend you find the closest farmers’ market to your location, check its working hours, and head there for your next veggie haul.

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Fun fact

In Croatian, a farmers’ market is translated differently depending on where you live and which Croatian dialect you use. Some of the Croatian translations are tržnica, plac, pijaca, pazar, placa.

[Read: The 3 Croatian dialects: Što, Kaj, and Ča]

Croatian family farms (OPGs)

The best way to shop for organic or natural products is to buy directly from family farms. Obiteljsko poljoprivredno gospodarstvo (family farm) – OPG is a usually small family-owned farm that produces different products, including fruits, veggies, milk, honey, and olive oil. Learn how to open and close OPG here.

By shopping at family farms, you are giving your money directly to these families, supporting sustainable farming, and, most importantly, getting the best quality products in Croatia. To find OPGs in your area, you can visit local Facebook groups, local health food stores, or farmers markets.

[Read: Croatian farms and food suppliers with online ordering and home delivery]

Vegan shops in Croatia

There are only a few exclusively vegan stores, and most are only available online. However,  buying vegan products in supermarkets and health stores will get you covered. Once you get used to online food orders or find your favorite Croatian vegan products, your life as a vegan in Croatia will be much easier.

Here are some vegan shops you should add to your list.

1. Advent

This online shop is one of the best places to look for vegan cheese replacements. They offer the Violife brand, which is very popular in Europe. Other products they sell are spices, tofu, spreads, and plant milk.

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2. Annapurna

Annapurna is an online store where you can find products like tofu, seitan, spreads, and vegan mayo. They are my go-to for tofu and tempeh. You can purchase products directly from them online or buy them in shops in Croatia. Their locations are available here.

Tiny tip: When you buy directly from them, products are much cheaper than in stores and supermarkets.

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3. Encian

Encian used to have stores in Zagreb, but they were closed, and only the online shop remained. However, they offer fast delivery, promotions and discounts, and a wide range of vegan products, spices, supplements, and cosmetics.

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4. Sve najbolje

Sve najbolje, formerly known as Vege fino za sve, is a vegan store and fast food place where you can buy different kinds of spreads, vegan salami, and jams. They are very lovely and dedicated to high-quality service and products. I suggest you try their freshly prepared vegan ćevapi (chevapi).

Address: Lavoslava Ružičke 48, 10 000 Zagreb – view map

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Vegan products in supermarkets in Croatia

There has been a big change in recent years regarding vegan offers in supermarkets. When I first came to Croatia in 2018, there were maybe two types of vegan cheeses, one type of vegan mayonnaise, a couple of brands of plant milk, and some tofu products.

Navigating the supermarket aisles was hard, so I will make it easier for you by recommending the best supermarkets for vegan products in Croatia.

1. Bipa

Although Bipa’s health food section is much smaller than the ones in DM and Muller, you should consider visiting it if no other option is available. You will find nuts, seeds, plant milk, snacks, and supplements.

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2. DM

DM is a popular drugstore and market with a health food section filled with vegan products – from plant milk and vegan chocolates to organic and gluten-free pasta, oats, spreads, jams, and chocolate spreads.

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3. Eurospin

Eurospin is not as easily found as the other supermarkets, but it is worth visiting for its vegan nuggets. A couple of their own products are vegan, and locals love them. Find them in the frozen section.

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4. Kaufland

As all other supermarkets, Kaufland also has a lot to offer – from fresh produce to frozen veggies, to its own brand of vegan products. I used to go to Kaufland just to buy their smoked tofu and yogurt. They also have vegan ice creams and sweets.

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5. Konzum

Konzum can be found in every city in Croatia. You will always find a fridge with vegan products only where you can pick up yogurts, cheeses, and salami. They also have designated areas for healthy food, where you can get flour, spreads, pasta, gluten-free, and organic options. My favorite vegan cheese brand GreenVie mozzarella can always be found there.

[Read: How to buy a flour in Croatia]

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6. Lidl

If you come from a bigger EU country, you might be disappointed with the vegan offerings in Lidl, but for us, Lidl is one of the best places to buy vegan products. It has vegan sausages, spreads, vegan schnitzels, tofu (the most affordable one I found in supermarkets in Croatia), and hummus. In their promotional vegan weeks, they sometimes offer vegan desserts, vegan yogurts, ice creams, and falafel.

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7. Muller

Muller is a market where you can find various products, from cosmetics to food. Even though they sell more conventional brands like Nestle or Milka, they also have an entire section dedicated to organic and vegan products.

Tiny tip: My recommendation is to buy vegan cosmetics and vegan chocolate there.

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8. Plodine

If you can’t find any other supermarket, Plodine is an excellent replacement. Their biggest advantage is their frozen meals section, offering some ready-to-eat vegan options and ice cream.

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9. Spar

Spar is an excellent place to go for vegan products in Croatia. They have plant milks and products from famous brands like Beyond Meat, Alpro, and Garden Gourmet. They also have their own affordable product line with many vegan options.

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Where to buy vegetarian products in Croatia?

Vegetarian products can be found in every shop or market in Croatia. Vegetarians have the advantage that vegetarianism has been around for a longer period, and people are more familiar with it. Also, in Croatia, where homemade cheeses and free-range eggs are a must, vegetarians can enjoy good quality vegetarian food at affordable prices.

Vegetarian shops in Croatia

Health food shops can be considered vegetarian shops because most of their products are vegan or vegetarian. Even if you are vegan, you should check out these stores because they are some of the best suppliers of vegan food in Croatia. The best part is that from the majority, you can order your food regardless of their location.

[Read: Where to buy healthy, organic, and natural food in Croatia]

1. Bio&bio

Bio&bio is the most commonly found health food store in Croatia. Their prices are higher than in supermarkets or other webshops, but they are the only ones who offer certain brands, and their locations are usually very convenient. I recommend them for buying supplements.

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2. Garden

Garden is a good place to buy snacks, spreads, spices, and gluten-free products. Its prices are midrange, but it often introduces new brands, keeping them interesting to buyers.

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3. Mrkvica

Mrkvica is not to be skipped if you are in Zagreb. Except for a couple of vegan products they sell, they have a great offer of homemade pastries, cheeses, Croatian wines, organic veggies and fruits, teas, and spices. Many local OPG products can be found on their shelves.

[Read: 9 insider tips for buying wine in Croatia]

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4. Priroda i društvo

Priroda i društvo is a popular vegan and vegetarian shop in Zagreb that offers nationwide delivery. They have a wide range of products, including foreign ingredients like miso or nori. If you love vegan cheeses and meat replacements, you can find it here, as well as vegetarian products.

Address: Ozaljska 71, 10 000 Zagreb – view map

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5. Tvornica zdrave hrane

This is my go-to shop for ordering and picking up products. They also deliver to your home, even if you live on the islands. Tvornica zdrave hrane has numerous locations throughout Croatia and a vast list of products they sell. If you’re looking for affordable products, look for their Nutrigold brand.

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6. Other small stores

Here are some other smaller stores where you can find vegan and vegetarian products:

Vegetarian products in supermarkets in Croatia

In this section, we have already covered all supermarkets selling vegan and vegetarian products in Croatia. It is important to mention that every supermarket has more vegetarian than vegan options. For example, Spar has excellent vegetarian salami and healthy snacks.

Tips on buying vegan and vegetarian products in Croatia

When buying vegetarian or vegan products in Croatia, you must know how to read labels to ensure you can eat certain products. Here are some phrases you must learn:

  • Bjelanjak (egg white)
  • Jaja (eggs)
  • Laktoza (lactose/milk sugar)
  • Maslac (butter)
  • Med (honey)
  • Meso (meat) – view our meat guide here
  • Mlaćenica (buttermilk)
  • Mliječni proteini/bjelančevine (milk proteins/casein)
  • Mlijeko (milk)
  • Može sadržati (may contain)
  • Riba (fish) – view our guide on buying fish here
  • Vosak (beeswax)
  • Želatina (gelatine)

Never trust a product is vegan just because it says so on its packaging. Unfortunately, many brands mark food as vegan without understanding the term.

If you buy pastries or cakes, check the ingredients and not simply trust the seller. Every bakery has a list of ingredients (because of the allergens), so don’t be shy to ask for it and take your time to read it through.

If you want to snatch good deals, sign up for newsletters from stores where you shop, and you will receive news about their promotions and discounts. Most supermarkets have apps offering coupons or discounts. Download them and take advantage of their loyalty programs.

[Read: Biggest discount and loyalty programs in Croatia]

The Vegan Catalog is a great website where you can check if the product is vegan or not. You can find it here. This is a non-profit project, so you might not find everything you want, but it is being updated constantly, and it will grow in the future.

When I came to Croatia, I asked where to buy vegan products in one of the vegan Facebook groups, and the answer was overwhelming. The list was long, and many of those places would be impossible for a foreigner to find. The vegan and vegetarian community in Croatia is so warm and welcoming, and if you have any questions, everyone will try to help you.

Delicious Croatian vegan and vegetarian products

Although they did not plan it, Croatians have made some of the extraordinary traditional products that vegans and vegetarians love to eat. You can buy them in farmers’ markets, supermarkets, or from local producers.

Here is the list of must-try Croatian vegan and vegetarian products:

  • Ajvar (roasted red pepper spread)
  • Bajadera (chocolate pralines) – learn more here
  • Bučino ulje (pumpkin seed oil)
  • Maslinovo ulje (olive oil)
  • Med (honey)
  • Paški sir (Pag cheese)
  • Pinđur (roasted red pepper spread)
  • Pivo (beer) – view our beer guide here
  • Rakija (hard liqueur) – view our rakija guide here
  • Rapska torta (Rab cake)
  • Smokvenjak (fig cake)
  • Tartufi (truffles)

[Read: Famous Croatian produce and where it comes from]

Popular local vegan and vegetarian dishes in Croatia

Croatia traditionally eats a lot of meat, but they also have many accidentally vegan and vegetarian dishes that every Croatian knows and loves. Here is the list of those fantastic dishes and their recipes:

If you visit a traditional Croatian restaurant, our guide on the Croatian vocabulary you might need at a restaurant or cafe available here will help you order these magnificent meals. And last but not least, don’t forget to tip the waiter for making your Croatian culinary experience unforgettable.

[Read: All about tipping in Croatia]

Dobar tek! 🙂

View other articles about Croatian products

Frequently asked questions

Is Croatia a good place to be vegan?

Croatia is more vegetarian than vegan-friendly, but there are plenty of options everywhere. It is a good place to be vegan, especially if you live in Zagreb, where vegan restaurants are found on every corner and vegan delivery is just a click away.

Are there any accidentally vegan products in Croatia?

One of my favorite accidentally vegan products is bajadera, chocolate pralines made by the best chocolate factory in Croatia, Kraš. They also produce other accidentally vegan pralines, like fontana, griotte, and trijumf chocolate bars. Other products I recommend are mlinci (but be careful because some have eggs), Bobi snacks (read the ingredients just in case), and my all-time favorite rum pločice by Kandit.

Is it easy to find vegetarian food in Croatia?

It is very easy, especially because a lot of traditional food is made vegetarian. Krafne, štrukli, bučnica, žganci, and so much more can be found in every home, bakery, or restaurant. If you are vegetarian in Croatia you will never be hungry wondering where to buy your next meal.

Are there vegan options in Croatia?

Yes, especially in bigger cities. Many restaurants offer vegan options or are open to “veganizing” the dish for you. Also, stores are getting better at providing vegan products. Even if you are in a smaller city there must be a chain supermarket where you can find some vegan basics.


Sources:
Prijatelji životinja
Happy cow

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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