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Sale of organic food products on the rise

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Organic food is becoming more popular in the Czech Republic not only among consumers but also among food companies. Last year’s turnover on the market with organic food rose by dozens of percent according to the estimates of the Green Marketing agency. In 2007 Czechs spent some CZK 1.3 billion for organic products. More and more producers are attracted by the growing demand.

“The number of producers of organic food products rose by 67% in ČR last year, most often they are recruited from among bakeries,” said Tomáš Václavík from the Green Marketing agency that has been monitoring the market with organic food products in the long term. The two largest Czech bakeries, Penam and United Bakeries, introduced their organic products in autumn 2008. Also the amount of Czech organic cured meat with established firms has risen. Companies like Sneider, KMOTR – Masna Kroměříž and Steinhauser have introduced organic products in their portfolio. A new thing on the market is also butter from organic milk which is sold by Polabské mlékárny and Ekomilk. Velké Meziříčí is offering organic variants of edam and emmentaler.

The offer of organic food products is still widening. “We don’t have concrete results for last year yet but we will still be among countries with the steepest growth in the world. Scandinavian states were probably among our competitors,” Václavík said. “This year the growth in the amount of organic food products on the market should be about 30%,” he said.

Retail chains are also starting to sell more organic products. For example Penny Market started offering organic food in all its stores after it took over Plus discounts and was even trying to acquire the BioBio trademark for its Czech stores. However, the company did not succeed, as it was, together with Plus stores in the whole of Germany, taken over by the German firm Edeka and re-branded to the established discount chain Netto. However, the company Ahold, the owner of retail chain Albert and Hypernova, introduced its own trademark Albert Bio at the end of 2008. At the beginning of this year the company extended its offer of products, for example by offering tinned vegetables. Also Penny Market, Tesco and Interspar are offering organic food products, but not under their own trademarks.

The demand for organic food products has been growing in the Czech Republic, although the prices of these products are significantly higher. While in May 2008 organic food was 95% more expensive than ordinary food products, in October the difference between the prices reached 110%. The organisation Pro-Bio Liga conducted a survey in Prague’s stores.

According to the data available to the Agriculture Ministry, ecological farming in the Czech Republic is conducted on almost 350,000 hectares and the share of ecological farming on the total area of agricultural land has exceeded eight percent.

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