A Czech beekeeping expert has expressed concerns that consumers will spend less on honey due to the increasing cost-of-living crisis.
Radomir Hykl – who recently organised a contest to find the best honey in the country – said soaring inflation could have a negative impact on people’s spending power concerning nutrition including honey.
The eastern European country’s annual inflation rose to 18 per cent last month. This was the highest rate since December 1993, according to the Czech Statistical Office.
Residents were hit by a year-on-year price hike of 21 per cent for food and non-alcoholic drinks while the price for electricity and natural gas even jumped by 24.9 per cent.
Russia’s war against Ukraine and its effect on the stock markets are widely considered as being the driving force behind rising prices for cereal, consumer goods and animal food.
Especially supermarkets focusing on an organic product range are suffering in the current crisis, according to Robert Kecskes from the German GfK research institute.
Hykl also said many honeybee colonies could die this autumn due to widespread mite infestations which have been spurred by a warm winter of 2021/2022 and a scorching hot summer of 2022.
The organiser of the best honey competition – which took place in the city of Brno – also appealed on customers to support Czech apiarists by purchasing their products. Prices for honey “have not increased dramatically recently,” Hykl claimed.
Hykl said the country’s beekeepers experienced a “positive working environment” in spring but a “highly difficult” summer due to the many heatwaves.
Sunny conditions are beneficial to bees. However, they struggle with temperatures as experienced across Europe last July and August.
Adult honey bees can weather temperatures of up to 50 degrees centigrade. However, bee larvae are not as robust.
According to experts, anyone can support honeybees and other pollinators by placing small bowls of water on windowsills and balconies.
Speaking about the intentions of his federal best honey contest, Hykl said: “We want to demonstrate the outstanding quality of Czech honey. That’s why the entrance was free of charge.”
Attendees of the event were treated with free samples of honey harvested all over the Czech Republic.
The different categories’ winners were Alena Staskova from Zlin, Kozomin-based apiarist Radomil Rubes and Martin Vorac from Prague.
The Czech Republic’s professional and hobbyist beekeepers manage around 695,000 hives.