Bakeries not charging enough for rolls, says association head

Photo: Czech Television

Wholesale prices paid by chain supermarkets for by Czech bakery rolls have long been too low, the chairman of the Association of Bakers and Pastry Chefs Jaromír Dřízal has said. According to Czech Radio, some bakeries sell a single roll for 70 hellers wholesale; according to the head of the association, the price should be 20 hellers more, or just ten short of one Czech crown.

Photo: Czech Television
Customers at grocery stores and chain supermarkets are used to paying around two crowns for an ordinary roll (a mark-up of one crown, ten hellers) but the chairman of the Association of Bakers and Pastry Chefs has suggested that could change, not least given the results of a poor harvest this year as well as the quickly rising cost of butter. Butter on some shelves now costs well over 50 crowns. In his view, those factors will soon have to be factored in to the cost of roll production and be reflected on shelf prices.

In Jaromír Dřízal’s view, the risks in the baking profession are currently many: the harvest for 2017 is 13 percent lower than last year and that’s not all: the overall quality of the wheat worsened for food production, requiring tweaks in processing which also leads to a rise in costs. Baked rolls imported from Poland, Slovakia, or Hungary, are also expected to go up in cost, he is quoted by Czech Radio, as their harvests this year also suffered.

Also factored into a rise in costs, he says, is a lack now of qualified personnel and changes in existing bakeries as they are passed from one generation to the next. There are around 700 bakeries in the Czech Republic, but he maintains that dozens will close their doors as they pass to the next generation, who will sell to focus their talents in other areas. Mr Dřízal is also critical of the recent government decision to boost the minimum wage to 12,200 crowns per month, saying that will force firms to raise salaries for some and effectively put a ceiling on raises for more qualified and experienced personnel.

Yet, he says, some 1,000 more employees would be needed in the sector, emphasizing that an existing fast-track program to bring in foreign labour, such as from Ukraine, needs to be speeded up.