At the New Food Forum conference, Czech retailers agreed to innovate and promote plant-based foods

A New Food Forum Conference 2023Held recently in Prague, retailers across the Czech Republic pledged to expand their range of plant-based products in response to growing consumer demand for more plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

Additionally, representatives from Tesco and Upfield renewed their commitment to increase their plant-based offerings, with Upfield pledging to make all of its products plant-based within the next three years (Vegeconmist Contacted Upfield for further information and confirmation.)

“We need to move faster in the plant-based sector”

Organized by ProVeg Czechia, this year’s conference hosted retailers and food manufacturers from across the Czech Republic, who discussed the need for better availability, quality and more affordable plant-based alternatives to animal products.

Among the main topics, participants discussed how innovation and new technologies are key to developing the plant-based sector and transforming the global food system.

“It’s really pleasing to hear that retailers are responding to consumer demand for more climate-friendly food,” said Proveg Czechia director, Martin Runninger. “When retailers offer people a greater variety of plant-based options, it helps people transition to a more flexible diet.”

New Food Forum Audience
©Proveg International

He adds, “This is important because plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gases as animal-based foods, so being flexible, vegetarian or vegan is an effective way for people to respond to the huge challenge of climate change.”

Strong commitment

Most notably, two global players reiterated their commitment to expanding plant-based products: retail giant Tesco told delegates it is aiming to increase its range of plant-based products by 300% by 2025, while CPG leader Upfield said it aims to 100% plant-based in three years.

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

Upfield advertising
© Upfield

Consumer education

During a panel discussion, retailers emphasized the importance of consumer education around plant-based foods, particularly regarding the position of the country’s food regulatory authority, SZPI. In January 2023, SZPI stated that labels such as “milk substitute” should not be used to describe plant-based products.

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

Mondarella plant-based cheese
©Proveg International

Winners have been selected

Among other highlights, this year’s conference attendees are invited to choose between interactive workshops on topics such as marketing and plant-based cooking.

Catering company Cibule provided the food, and the conference presented winners for best plant-based option in various categories, including Müller’s Vegan Mousse for best dairy option, Lindt’s Vegan Bunny for best dessert and Garden Gourmet’s Bunak for best meat option.

New Food Forum Prague 2023
©Proveg International

Conference partners included Upfield, Garden Gourmet, Semix, Fruzo, V-Label, Ogilvy, Fruzo, Limenita, Wonderman Thompson, Paafani, Semix and Vegetas.

“We need to move faster in the plant-based sector,” shares Tesco Czechia Product Director, Chris Gee “With Tesco aiming to increase sales of plant-based products by 300% by 2025, we are responding to changing Czech eating habits with a healthier and more sustainable product range.

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