Organic food is still a luxury for most Czechs and although forty percent of people say they buy organic food items occasionally, organic products still make up only one percent of overall food sales. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka blames the high mark-ups that supermarkets slap on “bio” products as they are known in the Czech Republic.
Transparency has not perhaps been one of the biggest features of the Czech health system, according to its critics. But the government says that a revolution in the hitherto rather opaque relationship between the main paymasters of the system – health insurance companies – and the hospitals, doctors, and others providing services to patients is now underway.
As of December 13th 2014 new food allergy labelling legislation went into force across the EU. It requires food businesses to provide allergy information on pre-packaged foods as well as food sold unpackaged, for example in restaurants, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars. While the change for food producers has been fairly straightforward, albeit expensive, many restaurant owners are still looking for the least obtrusive way of providing this information to clients.
Economists are forecasting a good year for the Czech economy in 2015 with a predicted growth of 2.5 percent as the economic recovery gains momentum. Supportive financial conditions, government spending, rising confidence and stronger incomes are expected to strengthen domestic demand giving the economy fresh impetus.
Supermarket chains selling cheap imported Christmas decorations are causing tough times for local producers. Traditional Czech hand-made decorations, such as ornamental glass baubles, are facing competition from factory-produced replicas sourced from China and sold at a fraction of the cost. Over the last ten months, 430 million crowns worth of decorations have been imported from China; consequently, domestic producers say they have to rely largely on exports to stay afloat.