Last week one of the leading Czech newspapers, Hospodářských noviny, came out with a story slamming Czech food suppliers for the low quality ingredients they use in some of their products here. HN compared the same products in Germany, manufactured by the same parent companies, and found that the reason food tastes better on vacation is because, as we’ve always suspected, it is better. In Germany, ingredients are higher quality – less byproduct, more real. And, get this, on several occasions the German food item was found to be cheaper to buy than its weedy cousin sitting in supermarkets in the Czech Republic. Outrageous.
But not surprising. Stories about low quality food in supermarkets have hit the news before: for years a rumor floated about that the big grocery chains shipped their bruised fruit and veggies from Austria and Germany to their Czech Grade A bins. We gave up buying vegetables and fruit in the big stores when Caroline was born, and now only shop at our neighborhood’s Vietnamese green grocers. They seem to care about quality, and sell tomatoes that have flavor, and onions that aren’t flabby. We shop at small stores specializing in meat, cheese or bread for the rest of our groceries. And then there are the farmers‘ markets. You can see why I’m such a fan.
Many Czechs take a more extreme approach, and leave the country for their groceries. In a recent poll, 1/3 of Czechs report that they shop abroad for food and clothes. Not for all items of course, but that’s still a lot of revenue crossing the border every day. Stories like this give me hope that eventually the big retailers will wake up to the departing revenue, adjust their prices to a regionally competitive level and offer the same quality product that their parent companies offer abroad. After all, I’d rather shop at home and spend my vacations exploring something other than the jam aisle in SuperU.
Dining out for Life
4 hours ago