Czech Statistics Office: Covid pandemic changed Czechs’ eating habits

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed Czechs’ eating habits, according to newly released data by the Czech Statistics Office. Alcohol consumption last year was the lowest since 1996, while consumption of rice and legumes was the highest since monitoring began in the country. Overall, food consumption in the Czech Republic increased last year.

"Compared to the pre-Covid era, people were stocking up on foods with a longer shelf life and high nutritional value as a precautionary measure during an emergency. They were also more interested in boosting their immunity by increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables," said Renata Vodičková, head of the office’s Agriculture and Forestry Statistics Department.

Czechs ate an average of 87.8 kilograms of fruit per person in 2020, which is 1.3 kilograms more than in the previous year. Apples accounted for nearly half of the total consumption of locally-grown fruits, while the most popular tropical fruits were bananas and oranges.

Consumption of rice and pulses also increased. On average, each Czech ate almost eight kilograms of rice and 3.6 kilograms of legumes such as lentils, beans and peas. According to statisticians, these were the highest figures ever since monitoring began in 1920.

In contrast, potato consumption fell in 2020 by almost 4.5 kilograms year-on-year to 65.1 kilograms per person. People were also less interested in pasta as well as bread and other bakery products.

Czechs consumed 262.5 kilograms of milk and dairy products per capita last year, which is an increase of 5.4 percent compared to the previous year. Meat consumption increased by 800 grams year-on-year to 84 kilograms per person.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages fell to its lowest level since 1996. Beer consumption fell by six liters per person year-on-year, to an average of 140 liters per person. Wine consumption fell by half a liter to nearly 20 liters per person. The Czech Statistics office also recorded the lowest consumption of soft drinks since 2001, as a result of months-long restaurant closures.