Supermarket chains helping Czech food exports

Photo: duncan c, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Czech food export levels reached nearly CZK 18 billion last year, more than double the amount sold abroad in 2010. The steady growth is largely thanks to the international nature of supermarket chains such as Lidl and Penny, which sell the products in their stores across Europe.

Photo: duncan c,  Flickr,  CC BY-SA 2.0
Czechs love shopping in supermarkets and hunting for discounts. The country is in fact known for the great number of shopping malls and stores it contains. However, it seems that supermarket chains are also helping Czech farmers break into foreign markets. Speaking to Czech Television, the head of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, Tomáš Prouza, recently said that it is the international character of these grocery retailers which helps get Czech products into foreign markets.

In the past eight years the amount of Czech exports has more than doubled and data shows how much supermarket chains contribute to this process.

For example, one of Europe’s largest food retailers, Lidl, which is also popular in the Czech Republic, has steadily increased the export numbers of its Czech produce in the past 7 years, going from CZK 2.8 billion in 2011, to CZK 5.5 billion in 2017.

Lidl spokeswoman, Zuzana Holá, offered more details.

“Last year in 2017, we exported products made by 145 producers. These are sold in various European countries, a number that is also growing, last year it reached 24. Our export data to countries where Lidl is active shows that Czech producers are increasingly more popular in Europe. Not only is the number of Czech producers who are on the shelves growing, but the amount of countries and the volume of products we export abroad is growing as well.”

Photo: Czech Radio - Radio Prague
It is not just Lidl, whose export numbers are growing. A smaller also popular supermarket chain – Penny market, announced its amount of Czech exports would reach nearly half a billion crowns in 2018.

Asked about which Czech products are most popular abroad Ms. Holá had this to say.

“Most common are milk products and meats. We export a whole assortment of hams and salami. But we also export musli bars. What is particularly interesting is that each country has its own flavour it likes. For example when it comes to pâté, Czechs most like almonds and cranberry flavours, whereas in the UK and in Ireland, it is the Brussels and Ardennes flavours.”

It is not only food which is having success however, according to Ms. Holá, Czech nappies are also in high demand.

Asked about whether she believes the growth will continue, Ms. Holá says she is positive.

“I can speak from the experience we have had in the past years and this has shown a steady increase in our export numbers each year, so based on that we expect growth in this year as well.”