Czech consumers continued to eat increasing quantities of hard cheese and soft cheese in 2018, while consumption of processed cheese declined as this cheese type is perceived as less healthy. Fresh cheese such as mozzarella and ricotta has gained further interest as a higher number of Czech consumers opt for international cheese specialities fuelled by the wider offers in stores and by various cooking television programmes and recipes published in women’s magazines.
Packaged hard cheese continued to gain a wider consumer base during 2018. Both producers and retail chains expanded the offer of packaged hard cheese over 2017-2018, which aided sales together with the trend that a higher number of locals continue to opt more for packaged hard cheese due to its convenience.
Within spreadable processed cheese, reconstituted cheese continued to dominate in 2018. Nevertheless, reconstituted cheese proceeded to decline, while cream cheese such as Lucina (by Savencia Fromage & Dairy Czech Republic) enjoying wider interest as it evokes a healthier image.
Madeta managed to retain its leading position in cheese in 2018 because the company continued to lead hard cheese, which is the largest cheese category in both volume and value terms. Savencia Fromage & Dairy Czech Republic continued to lose value sales to other competitors, Olma and Lactalis CZ.
Olma recorded the highest value sales growth in 2018 because the company was successful in strengthening its position in soft cheese by the further great performance of Olma Olmin (launched only in 2016). The company launched new Olma Olmin variants over 2017-2018, which aided sales together with a significant advertising campaign including in-store promotions and tastings.
Private label continued to enjoy strong penetration of cheese in the Czech Republic in 2018. Private label products are considered to have satisfactory quality by Czech consumers and a higher number of premium private label products were further introduced over 2017-2018.
Local consumers continued to prefer full fat milk and semi skimmed milk, as they demand the full flavour of milk despite a developing wellness trend in the country. Retail volume sales of fat-free fresh milk were absent in 2018 with only fat-free variants available within shelf stable milk, and within this, the offer is limited.
Free from lactose milk generated stronger interest from local consumers in 2018. Rising consumption of lactose-free milk is attributed to a growing number of people suffering from lactose intolerance, although there are higher numbers of Czechs who do not suffer from lactose intolerance but are opting for lactose-free milk under the wellness trend.
Similarly, the developing awareness of health and wellness has positively influenced sales of milk alternatives in the Czech Republic. Consumption of soy milk and other milk alternatives are also supported by frequent price discounts and wider penetration of these products at retail chains.
Local player Madeta retained its leadership of drinking milk products in 2018. Madeta benefits from its well-established brand, strong distribution network and leading position in flavoured drinking milk and in cow’s milk.
Private label proceeded to enjoy significant penetration of drinking milk products, mostly within cow's milk. In flavoured milk drinks, private label has been discontinued because Czech consumers show solid brand loyalty here and private label flavoured milk drinks found no success.
Bohemilk, Lidl Ceska republika, Müller CR/SR and Nutriops-Laboratorios Almond SL all performed very well in drinking milk products in 2018. Bohemilk was successful in increasing its sales within fresh milk, shelf stable milk and powder milk, expanding its distribution scope.
The consumption of yoghurt and sour milk products continued to rise in 2018 under the developing wellness trend and vivid new product development, bringing new flavour combinations and wellness attributes. Czech consumers continued to display increasing demand for plain yoghurt and Greek/Greek-style yoghurt, while flavoured yoghurt stagnated in retail volume terms.
With the increasing wellness trend in the country together with rising purchasing power of Czech consumers, companies offered increasingly sophisticated variants over 2017-2018. Olma launched probiotic drinking yoghurt Olma Smoothie with 40% fruit and vegetable content.
In line with the rising number of Czechs with lactose intolerance, the demand for free from lactose variants developed more strongly in 2018 with an increasing number of domestic free from lactose products available. For instance, Hollandia Karlovy Vary launched plain yoghurt Hollandia 0,01% Laktozy and Moravia Lacto plain yoghurt and sour milk Moravia DeLacto in interesting carton packaging.
Danone retained its leadership of yoghurt and sour milk products in the Czech Republic in 2018, although it experienced a marginal decline in retail value share during the year due to rising competition from domestic dairies such as Olma, Hollandia Karlovy Vary, Mlekarna Valasske Mezirici, Mlekarna Kunin and Chocenska Mlekarna. Local companies are becoming increasingly active in product innovation in terms of new flavours and improved quality in wellness terms over 2017-2018 and they gained a wider consumer base.
Chocenska Mlekarna experienced rising sales in yoghurt in 2018 as the company became increasingly active in promotions and product innovation over 2017-2018. Czech consumers appreciate local products and its Chocensky Jogurt brand offers quality, the good price and limited editions such as summer edition piña colada and orange with lime.
Private label strengthened its position within yoghurt and sour milk products in the Czech Republic during 2018. This is because local consumers find private label to be of good quality and an increasing number of premium and wellness yoghurt and sour milk products penetrated private label over 2017-201; hypermarket retail chain Kaufland introduced organic yoghurt in variants of natural and vanilla, which supported consumer interest.
An increasing number of Czech consumers followed healthier lifestyles during 2018 and this has positively influenced retail volume sales of other dairy in the Czech Republic. Local consumers are eating greater quantities of fromage frais and quark.
Skyr remained a novelty in the Czech Republic introduced only in 2016 when local dairy Bohusovicka Mlekarna launched Kapucin Skyr, traditional Icelandic low-fat quark delicacy loaded with protein. Skyr quickly caught the strong attention of local consumers, manufacturers and retailers and there was a visible new product development in 2017-2018 with Bohusovicka Mlekarna extending its skyr product line with new flavour variants.
Cream continued its dynamic development during 2018. Sour cream tends to be used more for cooking and baking as this cream variety is perceived to be healthy.
Local companies Mlekarna Kunin, Madeta, Olma, Polabske Mlekarny, and Bohusovicka Mlekarna retained leading positions within other dairy in 2018. Domestic brands continued to profit from their longstanding tradition in the country, and a well-established image.
Lounska mlekarna, Lidl and Müller witnessed strong increases in value sales during 2018 with their brands. Lounska mlekarna relaunched its Krajanka products over 2017-2018 with improved packaging featuring an attractive design, as well as new flavour variants for its dairy dessert Krajanka and launched the novel product line Krajanka ZOO, targeting children with lower sugar content and without artificial colourings.
Private label gained marginal retail value sales in other dairy during 2018. Czech consumers proceeded to demonstrate strong demand for private label in the largest categories, cream, and plain fromage frais and quark.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.