As­so­ci­a­tion: bread con­sump­tion in Latvia de­clined a bit last year

Baltic News Network - - News -

There was a slight drop in bread con­sump­tion in Latvia last year, ac­cord­ing to Lat­vian Bak­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion board chair­man Kārlis Ze­mešs.

He says the bread mar­ket is not sta­ble and that it has a ten­dency to de­cline due to the re­duc­ing bread con­sump­tion, which in turn is caused by the on­go­ing pop­u­la­tion de­cline, pro­mo­tion of a healthy life­style and the new gen­er­a­tion’s eat­ing habit change, as well as the fast life rhythm. Rye bread con­sump­tion is more sta­ble, but over­all bread con­sump­tion has a ten­dency to drop.

Ze­mešs ad­mits bread prices have risen a bit since the end of last year, which is largely due to the in­crease of prices on bak­ing flour. He did not say how much prices have in­creased for bread prod­ucts. At the same time, he al­lowed for bread prices to stop grow­ing this year. Com­pe­ti­tion is what will keep prices rel­a­tively sta­ble.

He adds that bak­ers are also in­flu­enced by in­creased elec­tric­ity and gas prices, as well as wage in­crease. With the shortage of labour­ers the com­pe­ti­tion for ca­pa­ble spe­cial­ists in­creases, which means in­creas­ing wages to keep peo­ple from leav­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Ze­mešs, com­pe­ti­tion is cur­rently rather high on the bread mar­ket be­cause Latvia has three large pro­cures as well as a num­ber of niche prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers, which amount to steep com­pe­ti­tion. On top of that, there are many home pro­duc­ers in Latvia, mak­ing the mar­ket very sat­u­rated. Bread is also pro­duced by su­per­mar­kets and other store net­works. How­ever, in spite of steep com­pe­ti­tion, none of the ac­tive bread pro­duc­ers in Latvia had closed down last year.

LMB board chair­man also says that one of the goals for 2019 is pro­mot­ing rye bread and ed­u­cat­ing the grow­ing gen­er­a­tion about rye bread to pre­serve its eat­ing and pro­duc­tion tra­di­tions. The in­dus­try also in­tends to con­tinue its cam­paign for grow­ing rye in or­der to pro­duce high-qual­ity rye flour with a great taste. Sev­eral other projects are also planned for spe­cial­ist train­ing and con­tests. Ze­mešs says this year’s main chal­lenge is keep­ing bread con­sump­tion on the cur­rent level and pre­vent­ing rapid changes, which would only in­crease com­pe­ti­tion.

Evija Tri­fanova/LETA

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