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Czech products in demand despite recession

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The Remoska counter-top electric cooker, Pohořelice carp and Pardubice gingerbread have at least one thing in common. Their origin is connected exclusively with the Czech Republic or with one of its regions. And although some of these specialties from Moravia and Bohemia are exported abroad, they have not been affected by the crisis yet.

The company Remoska, based in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, exports the renowned electric cooker mainly to Great Britain. And although the UK has begun to feel the impact of economic crisis earlier than the Czech Republic, there has been no decrease so far in the demand for the unique Czech product.

“We haven’t yet put together any accurate evaluation for last year. But based on our sales, there will definitely be no decline. On the contrary, sales have slightly risen,” Remoska’s business manager Ivo Svoboda said.

The current weakening of the Czech crown is also helping the company, although it closed contracts, including the prices half a year in advance. However, the company’s management is definitely not ignoring the economic crisis.

“We do have some reserves that could help us overcome a temporary fall in demand. But we are, of course, trying to come up with a scenario that would help us cope with a long-term fall in demand,” Svoboda said.

Other concerns besides the crisis

Companies producing specilty foods that are protected by the EU geographical indication are concerned about something slightly different. The protected geographical status is not helping that much at a time of crisis.

Still, producers are not worried about the crisis too much. “More than the crisis itself the problem is people who leave small shops for work in supermarkets. Last week, two shops that were selling our products had to close down,” the spokesman of Lomnické suchary (Lomnice biscuits) Ladislav Kodejška said.

It is not easy at all for smaller producers to guarantee a place in supermarkets for their products. Only few can afford to pay the high fees for products that are placed on stores’ shelves. That is why, for example, the producers of Lomnice biscuits, whichg have a protected geographical indication, have to rely on smaller vendors.

With special baked waffles known as “Štramberk ears”, which are made only by several small producers in Štramberk and Kopřivnice, the situation is somewhat more complicated. Every producer is selling their product differently.

“I personally sell my products through market vendors, so currently there are almost zero sales. The main season for me comes in summer and a few things are sold before Christmas,” said Miroslav Hanzelka, holder of certificate authorizing him to produce the original delicacy.

Does the geographical indication help?

Currently, there are 16 products on the EU list, and another eight products are in the phase when other member states can raise objections. Those that already have the geographical indication differ in their evaluation of its significance.

“The protected designation of origin for Pohořelice carp helps promote the product. The consumption of freshwater fish is still very low in the Czech Republic. That is why almost half of the production is exported abroad. And according to preliminary estimates, exports have experienced a decline even at the national level,” said Roman Osička, the deputy of the production department from Rybníkářství Pohořelice.

The producers of gingerbread, on the other hand, praise the European indication. “Now that the Czech Republic is presiding over the EU, the Pardubice gingerbread is in high demand as a gift that bears the European indication. Czech Television, moreover, broadcas a programme about products that have been awarded the indication, and it has definitely raised awareness,” said Josef Novotný, head of the Sdružení Pardubický perník association.

Protected specialties from the Czech Republic

Protected designation of origin

Pohořelice carp

Czech caraway

Žatec hops

Chamomilla bohemica

Nošovice sauerkraut

Všestary onion

Protected geographical indication

Lomnice biscuits

Chodské beer

Hořice waffles

Třeboň carp

Štramberk ears

Karlovy Vary cracker

Pardubice gingerbread

Budějovické beer

Budějovický měšťanský var

Českobudějovické beer

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