Czech retailers plan to boost plant-based products: Upfield, Tesco lead the way

 

Food awareness NGO, ProVeg Czechia, welcome commitments at Prague gathering

Retailers operating throughout the Czech Republic have pledged to boost their plant-based product ranges, with rising numbers of consumers buying plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. 

Commitments made at this year’s New Food Forum, organized by food awareness organization, ProVeg Czechia, included a pledge from retail giant Upfield to go completely plant-based within the next three years.

Another global player, Tesco, told conference delegates that it continues to push ahead with its goal of boosting its plant-based product range by 300% by 2025.

It is really heartening to hear that retailers are responding to customers’ demands for more climate-friendly food,” Martin Ranninger, said Director of ProVeg Czechia.

When retailers offer people a greater variety of plant-based alternatives, it helps people to transition to more flexitarian diets. This is vital because plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gasses as animal based foods, so going flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan is an effective way for individuals to respond to the huge challenge that climate change presents,” Ranninger added. 

The New Food Forum, which took place in Prague on 26 April, brings retailers and manufacturers together every year to talk about food innovation and sustainable diet trends. 

Food giant Upfield was among the delegates at the conference and has made it a mission to go 100% plant-based. 

“We believe the future belongs to a plant-based diet and that this trend will keep up because of consumers’ interest in their health and the planet. We want to continue changing the food tradition for the better, which is why Upfield will be a 100% plant-based company in three years,” Sebastian Tolwinski, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications Central and Eastern Europe for Upfield, said.

At the conference, retailers and food manufacturers discussed the need for better availability, quality, and equivalently-priced or cheaper plant-based alternatives to animal products. 

Audiences also heard that innovations and new technologies are the key to transforming the global food system and will help determine the right development direction in this sector. Interest in the sector is being driven by flexitarians – people who eat meat occasionally, with the product’s taste being their priority. 

Tesco Czechia’s Product Director, Chris Gee, said his company had embraced the need to shift to more plant-based alternative products. 

“We need to move forward much faster in the plant-based sector. With Tesco’s’ goal to increase the sale of plant-based products by 300% by 2025, we are responding to the changing dietary habits of Czechs, through a healthier and more sustainable product range,” Gee said.

In a panel discussion at the conference, retailers focused on the importance of consumer education around plant-based products, which is needed especially in the current product-labelling debate regarding the position of the country’s food regulatory authority, the SZPI.

The SZPI said in January 2023 that labels such as “milk alternative” should not be used to describe plant-based products. 

“Unfortunately, the January standpoint is still posted on the SZPI website, despite the recent verdict of the regional court, which ruled in favor of the producers of milk alternatives. This authoritative verdict confirms what we have been saying for years: consumers are not confused by the names of plant-based products,” ProVeg’s Ranninger said.

About New Food Forum Conference 2023

This year, participants at the New Food Forum had the chance to choose between interactive workshops on a variety of subjects, including marketing and plant-based cooking. 

The catering company Cibule provided delicious plant-based catering throughout the day. The conference also presented the winners of the best plant-based alternatives. Müller’s Vegan Mousse won best dairy alternative, Lindt’s Vegan Bunny won best plant-based confectionery alternative, and Garden Gourmet’s Vuňák won best plant-based meat alternative.

Partners of the conference were: Upfield, Perfect Catering, Cibule, Garden Gourmet, Semix, Frujo, V-Label, Ogilvy, Frujo, Limenita, Wunderman Thompson, Pábení, Semix and Vegetus. You can find more information on the website newfoodforum.cz.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email Aneta Kudolániová at [email protected]

Editors can find photos of the event available for use here

About ProVeg Czechia

ProVeg Czechia is part of ProVeg International, a global food awareness organization working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.

 

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