Semix Pluso, a Czech company focusing on eco-friendly and healthy food, is struggling to sell its organic products in the Czech Republic. The company, which started as a small bakery, now exports its products to 35 countries worldwide and has over 600 million Czech koruna revenues. However, despite being the largest Czech processor of poppy seeds and producing bakery mixes, whole grain cereals, and vegans products, Semix Pluso finds it challenging to sell its organic products in its home market.
According to Michal Čižmár, co-owner of Semix Pluso, the Czech Republic lags behind other countries regarding its support for organic products. Bioproducts only account for around 1.7% of total food consumption in the Czech Republic, while the percentage in Germany is already at 5%, and up to 10% in Scandinavia. “We have much catching up to do,” said Čižmár.
The reason behind the lack of demand for organic products in the Czech Republic is the cost. Bio products are usually much more expensive than conventional food, a significant deterrent for price-sensitive Czech customers. However, Semix Pluso’s organic production mostly targets customers abroad, where organic food is more popular and accepted, and the market is much larger.
Čižmár explained that there are 80 million potential customers in Germany, for instance, and the purchasing power is much higher. In contrast, the Czech Republic has a much smaller market, so the demand for organic food is lower. “We are pioneers in the Czech Republic,” he added.
The current economic climate has exacerbated the situation, where consumers in the Czech Republic are more mindful of their spending. They want to save money wherever possible, and organic food is typically more expensive than conventionally produced alternatives. The average annual expenditure per person on organic food in the EU is around 102 euros, or approximately 2400 Czech koruna. It is only 22 euros or 520 Czech korun in the Czech Republic. Approximately 65% of the Czech population does not buy organic food.
Semix Pluso is not the only company struggling to sell organic products in the Czech Republic. Many other local organic food producers are experiencing similar difficulties. As a result, Semix Pluso is focusing on exporting its products and expanding its business globally, where there is a more substantial market for organic products.