New survey ranks the Czech Republic's greenest grocery-store chains

The lists shows which Czech supermarkets offer the best range for vegans as balanced lifestyles make meat-alternatives more popular.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 02.02.2022 16:25:00 (updated on 02.02.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

It’s fair to say the Czech Republic isn’t the easiest country in the world to be vegetarian, never mind vegan. Yet despite their svíčková, guláš and španělský ptáček, Czechs are still concerned about a healthy lifestyle and animal welfare. For this reason an increasing number are opting for “flexitarianism,” in which the occasional meaty meal is balanced with more plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

The Rostlinně project, which encourages a plant-based lifestyle, has now ranked Czech supermarkets by their options for people looking for meat alternatives. This follows a survey conducted by FMCG Gurus for the Czech Vegan Society in 2020, which suggested 21 percent of Czechs identify as flexitarian.

The supermarket with the “greenest” offer was Globus, which came in first place in four out of the five categories evaluated by Rostlinně.

Data collection took place in November 2021 in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň and Liberec. The five areas examined by the survey were vegetarian meat alternatives; dairy alternatives; vegetable-based sweets, pastries and snacks; veggie ready meals; and vegetable sauces, dips and spreads.

Tesco and Globus were the only chains with a veggie alternative to fish, while “Globus also has a clear advantage over the competition in the size of its offer of tofu, tempeh and plant snacks. Globus only lagged behind the competition in the plant-based ready meal category, where Albert won,” said the survey creators.

The complete ranking is as follows: 1) Globus; 2) Albert; 3) Tesco; 4) Kaufland; 5) Lidl; 6) Penny Market; 7) Billa (no data provided).

Albert also did well with its range of vegetarian dairy alternatives, which has tripled in the last two years. Third-placed Tesco has a strong range of meat alternatives as well as the best vegan ice cream around. Billa supplied no data so it was ranked in last place.

"From research conducted by FMCG Gurus, it seems the main motivation for Czech veganism is health (68%), followed by concern about the environment (59%) and animal welfare (42%). We are seeing an increasing number of young people skipping meat due to the environmental impact of their diet," Eva Hemmerová, Communication Manager of ProVeg Czechia, told Expats.cz.

Prague is becoming a vegan’s paradise

Prague is regularly named one of the world’s most vegan-friendly cities. In 2020 the HappyCow portal, showing vegetarian restaurant options, named Prague the world's tenth best city for vegans.

It’s thought Prague’s proliferation of vegan and vegetarian food options is partly the result of foreign tourism and the presence of international cuisines which make greater use of vegetables than old-fashioned Czech food. But it’s also attributed to greater appetite for non-meat options among local people. Prague is among the world’s top five for the number of vegan restaurants per capita, according to HappyCow.

In October 2021, the Dáme Jídlo food delivery platform reported a 25 percent increase in vegan restaurants in Prague, and a 40 percent increase in vegan orders year-on-year.

Fast food chains are getting in on the act too

The booming plant-based industry isn’t limited to restaurants and supermarkets. Even fast food chains, stereotypically associated with low animal welfare and sustainability practices, are upping their plant-based game.

McDonald’s reported record results in the Czech Republic in 2021. The old-fashioned beef burger was the most popular option among Czech customers, with around twenty million sold throughout the year.

Yet a new veggie burger saw the fastest-growing sales of any McDonald’s product. Sales grew by 150 percent, showing that although veggie options still account for a small slice of McDonald’s business, they are on an upward trajectory.

Czech chain Bageterie Boulevard is also focusing on providing options for vegan and vegetarian customers. The company provides a VegeBox variant of its popular BB Box office delivery service, which has become “one of the best-selling on the market,” according to BB Box manager Levon Ter-Ghazaryan.

Supermarkets, restaurants and fast food outlets are all responding to increased demand for meat-free options from vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians alike. Meaty Czech dishes will never lose their cherished status in the Czech Republic; but those seeking alternatives can look forward to more options in the future.

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