Where’s the beef? Agriculture minister wants higher percentage of Czech-produced meat in stores

Photo: Filip Jandourek

According to Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka, less than 50 percent of red meat in domestic supermarkets is of Czech origin. In the future, he made has clear, he will be aiming for the numbers to improve. One good sign? Chains based in the Czech Republic are not against taking more from local producers.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
This week the Albert chain announced that 100 percent of premium red meat not sold at a discount on its shelves would come from Czech producers, according to the daily Lidové noviny. The country’s Agriculture Minister has estimated that only around half of meat on sale in supermarkets is of Czech origin but that could change; Lidové noviny reports that Ahold had reached agreement with suppliers to increase production capacity.

The minister is hoping that the decision to rely more on Czech producers will catch on, telling the news site that chain stores are becoming more inclined to taking Czech meat. He added that some were now willing to make exceptions for smaller suppliers who could provide products but lacked enough volume to satisfy all of the supermarket chain. Firms, in short, are now more flexible and more willing to launch new projects.

The spokesman for the Kaufland chain, Michael Šperl, specified for the news site that the firm bought meat products primarily from certified producers in the Czech Republic. He said that up to 80 percent of young beef (up to 24 months) sold was from cattle raised and fed in the Czech Republic; the number for pork is not as high, he stressed, because firms were not able to provide the necessary volume needed at the quality level required.

Hypermarket Globus, reportedly takes all of its pork from Czech sources; Diskont Lidl, meanwhile, declined to reveal information, saying it did not make public the percentage of meat it sells that came from the Czech Republic.