Czechs are increasingly buying on–the–go meals according to a new analysis released by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises. The trend is leading to healthy fast foods being offered not just in local shops, but also by online retailers and becoming a challenge for established fast food stores.
“It is a general trend nowadays, which is growing. Although most food purchases are still of the large, long-term supply kind, there are more and more cases of people simply buying something to eat while on their way to work, on the street, or when driving”, says Zdeněk Skála the managing director of Skála and Šulc, a company that specialises in business research.
Needless to say, large retailers have noticed the trend and are establishing special on–the–go food sales corners within their supermarkets.
For example Kaufland, which owns over a hundred supermarkets in the Czech Republic, is gradually setting up specialised healthy fast food shops in all of its stores. These are often sold under its own brand.
According to Kaufland’s spokeswoman Renata Maierl, customers most commonly look for Caesar and Greek salads, children’s snacks, sandwiches and iced coffee.
It is not just large retailers that are seeing an increase in demand for on–the–go foods. For example, online retailer Košík.cz told Czech Radio that they have noticed a particular increase in orders for vegetarian foods such as sushi or fruit salad. These tend to be ordered directly to work.
Nevertheless, Košík.cz spokesman František Brož says that despite growth in the tens of percentage points per year, the level of sales is still not at Western levels.
Olin Novák, the commercial director of online retailer Rohlík.cz, adds that on–the–go foods are usually ordered by busy customers who are looking for an alternative to the usual lunch or dinner menu.
On–the–go foods also have the advantage of being cheaper than hot meals prepared in restaurants, as they are often priced below CZK 100. Their popularity of on–the–go foods also means that they are becoming competition for established fast-food stores.
Other current trends on the Czech food scene according to the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises are natural foods and experimental gastronomy.