Interest in plant-based alternatives is growing in the Czech and Slovak markets according to a new market study solicited by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Warsaw and conducted by not-for-profit organisation Czech Vegan Society.
“We see a trend in the region that plant-based products are getting more and more popular as alternatives to meat and dairy. For example, both Prague and Warsaw are in the top of most vegan-friendly cities in the world according to the ranking of Happy Cow,” says Carolien Spaans, Agricultural Counsellor at the Warsaw Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Plant products are becoming more common on store shelves
Retail chains are responding to the increased demand not only by including plant-based foods, but also by developing their own private label product lines.
“In the past 4 or 5 years, there has literally been a boom of plant-based products. Veganism or even flexitarianism has thus become much easier and more accessible thanks to the food industry innovations,” says Martin Ranninger, President of the Czech Vegan Society.
For example, supermarket chain Kaufland has been offering vegetarians and vegans its private brand K-Take It Veggie since 2016. The chain is also active in the offer of plant products from other brands. For example, in June 2020, it launched some ready-meals by the Lunter brand and later added vegan mayonnaise and tartar sauce. According to the company’s representatives, sales of plant-based products are increasing every year, which, however, is also related to the increase of the supply.
“For Dutch companies, this is however mostly unknown. With these market studies, we want to show the opportunities and consumer trends and attract Dutch companies to explore their chances in this region,” Spaans elaborates.
Times are changing, the future will be plant-based
Although this may not look like it now (perhaps due to the ever-increasing consumption of meat in the country), the future is moving into the plant-based direction. That is reflected not only in the activity of multinational global players who work on a comprehensive range of products, including attractive marketing, but also in the activities of some local producers, who traditionally processed mainly animal raw materials.
Existing technological know-how and development enables these companies to begin production of plant-based alternatives. Olma, a major dairy producer, now offers non-dairy plant products based on fermented oats. And the aforementioned Příbramské uzeniny has started to supply the market with a range of plant alternatives to its most popular meat products.