Retail in Detail/Fresh Food 2011: Highly representative and engaged discussion on the future of fresh food market
Published 3/25/2011
More than 150 representatives of producers and distributors of fresh food discussed on 23rd March 2011 at the conference Retail in Detail/Fresh Food 2011 the state and perspectives of fresh food market. Already the opening presentations of analysts clearly signalized that commonly mentioned phrases about extreme price sensitivity of Czech customers and their low loyalty towards domestic food products differ from reality. Research of GfK presented by Ondřej Tomas, confirmed that quality, good reputation and origin of the products are key factors influencing shopping. And the Czech food has good reputation - especially in the category of milk and meat products they are preferred against import. The key parameter for the product to be taken as Czech is mainly production in the Czech Republic, which is (a lot or more) important for 87% of consumers. Czech brand ownership is less important (61%) compared to this.

ch fresh food market starts to show first glimpses of trends present on developed markets. Based on data from household panel, Micaela Schantl from Austrian government agency AMA – Agramarkt Austria Marketing persuaded participants that Austrian consumers continually increase their expenses for fresh food. Average price of the bought goods in last ten years continually grows, even in spite of draconian competition between retail chains and strong position of their buyers. Average retail price during the monitored period grew, depending on category, by 12 – 49%, almost only in relation to the quality uplift of the purchased goods. The most visible trend is focus on regional brand – just for example there are about 50 of them on the Austrian market in the category of beef. Organic assortment expansion also continues, mainly related to systematic activities of retail chains. The highest growth was noticed last year after launching the „Zurück zum Ursprung“ (back to the roots) in discount shops Hofer from Aldi group. 

The analysis of agriculture commodities price development, presented by Jiří Tyleček from X-Trade Brokers, met with great interest of participants as well.  Even though these prices thanks to actual events (tsunami, Libya) rapidly decrease in past few days, we cannot expect good news on this field in future. There is a long-term tendency to price growth and mainly the influence of speculative purchases grows. The price volatility will keep on growing and necessity of fixation of purchase prices in the long-term horizon will gain greate
Zdeněk Skála from Incoma-GfK replenished these facts with analyses confirming the key importance of fresh food for image enhancing and overall differentiation of retail chains. Globus Hypermarkets clearly profile, from the view of customers, by their offer of meat, Lidl by its offer of fruit and vegetables and Interspar by its offer of pastry and delicatessen. Martin Ditmar, Spar CEO, in the following presentation presented the vision to go even further and transform INTERSPAR stores into freshness galleries. Part of the stress on fresh food offer should be also strategy leaning on thickened network of stores with perfect accessibility for customers. Therefore Spar intends to accelerate its expansion and open 10-15 stores per year with stress on new format with size of 900 m2.

Another part of the conference was dedicated to three highly actual case studies, which were evaluated by participants very positively for their informative value and inspiration. Simona Sokolová, OLMA CEO, introduced strategy based on marketing investments efficiently concentrated to traditional Czech brands Zlatá Haná and Florián. Stanislav Sekyra from MAKRO Cash & Carry described on the example of selling fresh fish the long and systematic path of his company during building profitable fresh assortment category. He stated that the customer insight and clear focus on his comfort must be the basic principle of successful sale. It is pleasant this message was received positively and in the questionnaires Dr. Sekyra was evaluated the best speaker of the conference. Even the presentation of František Komora from Crocodille company, which belongs to few exporters successfully exporting fresh food even on the demanding Western markets, met great interest.  The presentation of Crocodille company is a real export textbook and we cannot do anything but recommend all the participants to
The last session of the conference belonged to discussion on future of the Czech fresh food market, moderated greatly by Martin Mařík from Ekonom magazine. The discussion panel was highly representative and it included representatives of big companies (including the owner of Agrofert Holding, Andrej Babiš) as well as of middle-sized and small companies. Important part of the discussion focused on mainly political topics and call for equal conditions for business and consolidation and strengthening the governmental support and market control. The most interesting impulses were brought to the discussion by representatives of smaller companies, who probably feel the best the market heartbeat and growing requirements of customers. Discussion contributions of Radim Petratur, representative of – Nakupujte lokálně (Buy regionally), owner of Liberec Bakery Jiří Bláha or Jan Prantl, co-owner of family butchers company, were a real exhibition of ideas and positive thinking. Even though there was mentioned an idea that independent producers don’t need to cooperate with large chains, the discussion signalized also clear possibilities of cooperation. From this aspect the contribution of Jaroslav Froulík, CEO of Jednota České Budějovice, who is organizing Farm Trades directly in his COOP TERNO hypermarket and is initiator of regional brands support and development, was very inspirational. Speech of Nguyen Nam, representative of Vietnamese entrepreneurs in ČR, was also refreshment of the discussion. He surprised participants not only by his perfect Czech language and good rhetoric, but mainly by the focus of Vietnamese entrepreneurs on mutual cooperation. They are great, and let’s hope also achievable, example for Czech colleagues – without mutual cooperation smaller entrepreneurs can hardly achieve anything on the demanding Czech market.
Allow us to quote three participants at the end:
• Helpful meeting showing the state of the industry, which has a lot of work ahead.
• Beautiful „fresh“ environment and decoration from the Spar company.
• I expected something else, but after all it gave an interesting image – surely it was interesting.
Contact and more information: Barbora Krásná ( ) or