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Czech Parliament hosts seminar in support of plant-based food

By ProVeg International

The seminar at the Czech Parliament recognised that plant-based food is healthier and more environmentally friendly, thus encouraging a shift in Czechia’s eating habits

Earlier this month, the Czech Chamber of Deputies hosted a seminar titled “New trends in the food industry – an opportunity for the Czech economy, a healthier society, and a sustainable future?” The event, organised by Klára Kocmanová, Vice-president of the Committee for the Environment, under the auspices of the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health, brought together food manufacturers, retail chains, and experts who have expressed the need for fostering alternative sources of protein.

Tereza Trávníčková, Food Industry & Retail Consultant at ProVeg Czechia, opened the seminar by talking about the need for price parity while emphasising the growing number of Czechs who are embracing plant-based diets.

“Price significantly shapes consumer choices. Czech consumers face considerable price disparities, paying over 160% more for a plant-based alternative to minced meat and almost 60% more for a plant-based alternative to cow milk. Affordability is essential for boosting plant-based product adoption,” noted Trávníčková.

Romana Nýdrle, Retail Director of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, emphasised that climate goals cannot be achieved without limiting the consumption of animal foods, and discussed the significant opportunities arising from the necessity to transition to plant-based alternatives. At the same time, she voiced concerns about the state of the Czech market, citing extreme interpretations of the law by SZPI (the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority) that hamper competition and have led to disputes over labelling and product placement.

The seminar delved into the twin challenges posed by labelling restrictions and higher prices, highlighting them as key obstacles to capitalising on the opportunities presented by the rise in plant-based eating. ProVeg Czechia recently responded to attempts at censoring the names of plant-based alternatives, with an expert opinion drawn up by the Plicka & Partners legal team, and thus helped to shift the government’s position. This emphasises how governmental support and engagement with government is crucial in ensuring the availability of plant-based options.

Seminar organiser Klára Kocmanová stressed the importance of integrating changing dietary habits into the political agenda. “I am pleased to initiate a discussion in the Chamber of Deputies about a topic that significantly influences our society. I see the potential in emerging food trends. By addressing them thoughtfully, we can foster economic growth, promote a healthier society, and adopt a more environmentally friendly approach.

“As the Vice-president of the Committee on the Environment, I emphasise the significance of the transition towards a more plant-based diet as a pivotal strategy to alleviate the current substantial burden on the environment,” said Kocmanová.

Addressing the considerable public-health benefits, Dr Eliška Selinger outlined the advantages of a plant-based diet, including lower levels of cholesterol and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, and urged a restriction on the consumption of red meat. Throughout the seminar, representatives from manufacturing firms stressed the challenges that they face due to inadequate support for plant-based products, leading to a significant reliance on imports. Zbyněk Haindl, Business Manager at Nestlé, spoke about the company’s ongoing efforts to reformulate current vegetarian products so that they are also suitable for vegans. Haindl highlighted the pivotal role of the product itself, noting that emissions from animal-based foods account for about 20% of global emissions and are approximately twice as high as those from plant-based alternatives.


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