Some Czech Specialty Products In Demand Despite Crunch

3-4 2009 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

Prague - The Remoska portable mini-oven, Pohořelice carp and Pardubice gingerbread have at least one thing in common - their origin is connected exclusively with the Czech Republic and their sales abroad have not been affected by the economic downturn yet.

The company Remoska, based in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, exports the renowned electric appliance mainly to Great Britain. And although the UK has begun to feel the impact of an economic downturn earlier than the Czech Republic, there has been no decrease so far in the demand for the Remoska mini-oven.

“We haven’t yet put together any accurate evaluation for last year. But based on our sales, there will definitely be no decline. On the contrary, sales have slightly risen,” Remoska’s business manager Ivo Svoboda said. The current weakening of the Czech crown is also helping the company.

Other concerns

Nonetheless, there are concerns. Companies producing specialty foods protected by the EU geographical indication worry about places of sales more than the sales themselves. And the EU protected geographical status is not helping them that much at a time of the economic crisis.

“More than the crisis itself the problem is people who leave small shops for work in supermarkets. Last week, two shops that were selling our products had to close down,” the spokesman of Lomnické suchary (Lomnice crackers) Ladislav Kodejška said.

It is not easy at all for smaller producers to guarantee a place in supermarkets for their products. Only few can afford to pay the high fees charged for products that are placed on stores’ shelves. That is why, for example, the producers of Lomnice biscuits, which have a protected geographical indication, have to rely on smaller vendors.

With special baked pretzels known as “Štramberk ears”, which are made only by several small producers in Štramberk and Kopřivnice, the situation is somewhat more complicated. Every producer is selling their product differently.

“I personally sell my products through market vendors, so currently there are almost zero sales. The main season for me comes in summer and a few things are sold before Christmas,” said Miroslav Hanzelka, holder of certificate authorising him to produce the original delicacy.

Does the geographical indication help?

Currently, there are 16 products on the EU list, and another eight products are in the phase when other member states can raise objections. Those that already have the geographical indication differ in their evaluation of its significance.

“The protected designation of origin for Pohořelice carp helps promote the product. The consumption of freshwater fish is still very low in the Czech Republic. That is why almost half of the production is exported abroad. And according to preliminary estimates, exports have experienced a decline even at the national level,” said Roman Osička, the deputy of the production department from Rybníkářství Pohořelice.

The producers of gingerbread, on the other hand, praise the European indication. “Now that the Czech Republic is presiding over the EU, the Pardubice gingerbread is in high demand as a gift that bears the European indication. Czech Television has broadcast a programme about products that have been awarded the indication, and it has definitely raised awareness,” said Josef Novotný, head of the Sdružení Pardubický perník association.

Czech specialties with a protected designation of origin

Protected designation of origin

Pohořelice carp
Czech caraway
Žatec hops
Chamomilla bohemica
Nošovice sauerkraut
Všestaty onion

Protected geographical indication

Lomnice biscuits
Chodské beer
Hořice waffles
Třeboň carp
Štramberk ears
Karlovy Vary cracker
Pardubice gingerbread
Budějovické beer
Budějovický měšťanský pivovar
Českobudějovické beer

Adapted and republished by
Prague Daily Monitor.

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