This year, many restaurants and supermarket chains will reduce the offer of the traditional St. Martin’s goose. Around St Martin’s Day, which is on November 11, ducks will be on the roasting trays. The reason is that fewer geese are being reared, and their high price is unaffordable for many people.
According to statistics, 139,218 slaughter geese hatched in the Czech Republic this year. 129,730 were fattened and sold, about 37,000 fewer than last year.
“Last year, 182 000 geese were hatched in the Czech Republic, of which 167 000 were fattened. The reduction in numbers can be attributed to outbreaks of avian influenza. Last year, bird flu affected large goose producers such as Rybářství Nové Hrady and the breeders of the Rohozen goose,” Gabriela Dlouhá, head of the Czech-Moravian Poultry Breeders’ Union, said.
Despite the price increase, they report a sell-out
While the price of domestic chilled goose was around CZK 200 per kilogram last year, it is now 10 to 20% higher, according to breeder data.”This price increase reflects at least partly the rise in the price of feed mixes and energy,” Dlouhá said.
“But in any case, the price of a goose should not be doubled, as we hear from restaurant operators. Ducks can replace this year’s shortfall of geese in the Czech Republic and Europe,” Dlouhá added.
St. Martin’s Day celebrations mark the peak season for domestic goose breeders and their primary source of income. Most sales take place before and during the Christmas holidays.
According to Dlouhá, it is not worth keeping geese all year round because people are not interested in the meat of this poultry, and breeders have limited sales opportunities. There are around 60 registered goose breeders in the Czech Republic. Small-scale fatteners are not subject to registration.
Goose breeders have a steady customer base and usually report having already sold out. In the pre-sale, i.e., until the end of September, the geese cost 295 crowns per kilogram, ten crowns more than last year. In October, he raised the price to CZK 335 compared to the previous year. He also increased the price by CZK 10 in the primary season.
They did not want to disappoint loyal customers
According to Dlouhá, restaurants had previously mostly offered frozen geese from abroad or various crosses between geese and ducks.
“Instead of traditional geese, some consumers prefer ducks due to their price, which is roughly half the price, and their smaller size,” Barbora Pánková, spokeswoman for the Czech Chamber of Agriculture, said.
Restaurateurs and traders are aware of this. For example, the Penny Market chain will not offer geese this year.
“Given the high increase in goose prices and the current economic situation, when most customers are looking for ways to save money, we will offer duck as an alternative this year, both chilled and frozen,” Tomáš Kubík, spokesman for Penny Market, said.
Because of the high goose cost, several restaurant owners were debating whether to include it on their menus this year.One of them was Prague’s Malostranská beseda.
Most large retailers will offer geese despite the significant shortfall in domestic production this year
“We start on Wednesday, November 2. The offer will include frozen goose, frozen goose leg or breast, and chilled goose, chilled goose leg and breast,” said Kaufland spokeswoman Renata Maierl.
The chains import geese and ducks from Hungary, Poland, and Germany. Geese will also be available at online supermarkets such as Rohlík.cz and Košík.cz.
“Geese and ducks, a popular St. Martin’s Day alternative because of their price and size, have not escaped the price hikes like other meat products and virtually all foodstuffs. The price of geese has risen by an average of 20 percent compared to last year, while the price of ducks has increased by 10 percent,” Košík spokesman František Brož said.
“We will sell chilled pond goose from the Czech Republic and South Bohemian duck. Frozen ones will also be available for purchase this year. We will also offer goose legs in sous-vide preparation or ready meals in the form of roasted goose legs with dumplings and cabbage,” he added.