Ecologists and healthy food lovers have a reason to celebrate since the very first certified organic restaurant opened in the Czech Republic. Two Brno-based restaurants called Rebio, run by Moravian company Rebio Sun, were granted licence a few days ago.
It is for the first time since the beginning of the 1990s, when ecologically safe foods appeared on the market, that the BIO logo was given to a public restaurant.
There’s no organic like organic
“We opened our first restaurant in the centre of Brno in 2004 and we added the second one last summer,” said Rebio owner Miroslav Korbička.
Back then, however, the restaurants operated on the health food canteen basis. The official title of a “BIO public restaurant”, defined by Brussels and accepted by the Czech governmental institutions was issued by an independent inspection organisation KEZ.
KEZ has been operating in the Czech Republic as a controlling organ of the ecological agriculture authorised to issue BIO certificates to verified organic foods. Two other organisations, Biokont CZ and ABCERT, have the same power as KEZ, however, only KEZ launched its own programme for certifying bio restaurants.
“Restaurant certification is very important. Organic certificate grants the restaurant the maximum trust of its visitors in the whole supplier network. Canteens and restaurants will soon realise that if they want to stand out and gain trust, they will need a bio certification. To use “organic” on the menu without certification is not only unfair towards the customers but also towards other certified restaurants, said Tomáš Václavík from Greenmarketing, specialising in marketing of ecological agriculture.
Organic tastes good even during the crisis
Despite the fact that organic foods are usually twice as expensive as ordinary products due to strict regulations, the high prices do not do them harm. Not even at a time of crisis that forces customers to save.
“Organic food consumption grew by 40% last year, so it increased by more than half a billion crowns to current CZK 1.8 billion. Despite the fact that growth slowed down last year, compared to 70% growth in 2007, the Czech market still grows the fastest in the world,” Václavík said.
Rebio itself has not yet been affected by the crisis. The number of customers doubled in the past two years and its owner is considering expanding to Prague. “Still, we are trying not to underestimate the crisis, and we scrutinise all operational costs,” said Korbička.