New autumn, new hopes

By: Hermann Zsuzsanna Date: 2023. 08. 24. 16:12

Although we usually say “new year, new hopes”, I don’t think anybody wants to wait until January with making changes. Anyone who knows me well knows that I always like to look at the bright side of things, but the past few years have been characterised by unpredictability and uncertainty, and it is really hard to find anything positive in them. I still say there is also something good in uncertainty: there is hope in it. As long as we are uncertain, we can hope for a positive change, because we don’t know what is coming will be better or worse…

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2023/8-9.

During the 5 days of this year’s Business Days conference, we will be talking about what has happened in the past year. But of course we can’t really ignore the legacy of the COVID phenomenon, which we have already left behind many times but now seems to be flaring up again, and “we don’t know what is going to happen in the autumn” is almost a traditional saying of ours at this time of year. Here we go again.

There have been several changes in the HoReCa market: new regulations, the inverted opposition between Budapest and the countryside, an even more divided guest base than before, and the absence of many guests, especially in the countryside, are causing lots of business difficulties, and the workforce situation hasn’t really improved either… But there are also many other issues we need to address at the conference.

At the moment suppliers and retailers are struggling with dropping consumer demand, which is underpinned by the contrasting movements of shrinking wallets and rising prices. The measures taken to reduce the inflation are welcome, but they aren’t expected to bring about a significant and lasting reduction in prices, as that would require a decrease in the components of prices first, and obviously lower inflation will only mean a slower price rise in stores. We already have experiences from the introduction of the price monitoring system and the price reduction competition it has generated, but we are probably waiting in vain for it to make an impact and reverse the shopping trend – because other factors would be required for that.

What is in focus nowadays – when everyone is already planning for next year, and in a few weeks’ time the plan presentations for 2024 will start – are clearly EPR and DRS for many market players. Sustainable operations and communication are explicit customer and consumer expectations, but these new rules are forcing changes from a different angle and are altering the cost structure.

You have to evolve, you have to invest, you have to innovate, you have to expand, you have to change, you have to compete – we know this very well, especially in the FMCG market. But the planned and ultimate realisation of all this in a constantly changing market environment is unpredictably uncertain. Just like the movement of our fleet of ships is in uncertain whether, and in unsteady waters. But the hope of finding stable land again is always with us – so we are going to find it.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all to this year’s 5-day Business Days conference, on 25-29 September, in Hunguest Hotel Pelion in Tapolca! For more information about the programme, see pages 22-25 of this issue or visit

Best regards,

Zsuzsanna Hermann, Editor in Chief


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