Plenty of Gastro-Innovations at Sziget... But What About Beer Prices?


Wherever you stand on Sziget, you're sure to find a food court within a 150-meter radius, a catering block where you can choose from a variety of food and drinks. This year's festival, which is being revamped in almost every aspect, will also see a new face for catering, with a new range of services and amenities, as well as further improvements and a focus on sustainability.

 In the food courts, set up in the festival area, there is a strong emphasis on convenience services and, in addition to the traditional "festival food", Sziget will also partner with well-known and popular restaurants and buffets - the international offer will be expanded and those with special diets will also have access to the dishes that suit them. Prices have been set so that the festival cannot be more expensive than similar offerings in the capital.

The organizers have set up 11 food courts across the island, which means a total of around 100 food outlets at the festival, so you won't have to wander around between two events to find something to your liking. For example, the international menu is expanding to include Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, Greek, French, Brazilian, American, Serbian, Mexican, Turkish, and of course, there are also local flavors, from flame-grilled beef to goulash soup. Naturally, there are also traditional "festival dishes" so you can march from stage to tent with a slice of pizza or a hot dog in one hand and a drink in the other. And for those who want more, you can also head to your favorite restaurants, including Poppy Restaurant, 101 Bistro, Yama, Zing Burger, Che-Che Burger, Unicorn Bistro, Meraki Greek Restaurant, A Table, Vegan Love, Digó Pizza, Nemo Fish & Bar, and even Bite.

But the list doesn't end there: there are also several food truck blocks on the Island, where the country's outstanding food truck caterers will be offering their dishes. There are also several themed food courts throughout the event area, so you'll find red meat-free dishes in two blocks, and international offerings in one, with two blocks of international food trucks. It's good to see that the organizers have thought of the "free" eaters, so there's a selection of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free food, as well as several veggie spots where healthy smoothies, vitamin bombs if you like, will be made for party-goers. The organizers have also paid a lot of attention to comfort, with shaded seating in the blocks for those in a hurry to get to the concert. Oh, and don't forget that Aldi is also there on the island with a wide selection of food, or even barbecue food.

One of this year's big ambitions is to make catering more sustainable. A key aim of the organizers is to offer food prepared with a smaller carbon footprint. To this end, they have launched a campaign among caterers, which has resulted in 80% of catering partners offering at least two vegetarian main courses and over 40% of partners offering no red meat at all. The campaign also aimed to increase the proportion of Hungarian ingredients used by caterers. In addition, a set of seven sustainability criteria has been introduced, of which at least two must be met by all caterers, taking into account the food preparation, packaging, raw materials or energy-saving solutions, and waste collection methods.

Of course, there is always the big question of how much it costs to eat and drink at the festival, i.e. how much a beer or a hamburger, and in general how much all food and drink on the island cost. One can cite the figures from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) on how much more expensive products are in general, how difficult it is to find staff and how much they have to be paid for their work, how much different it is to set up a unit in a temporary festival environment, without even thinking about the additional costs of running a catering business.

It can also be argued that, compared to the international festival market, Sziget is still better in terms of prices.

"Our guiding principle in setting Sziget's prices this year was to ensure that the festival's prices are not higher than those of a similar offer in a similar venue in the capital", said Tamás Kádár, Sziget's chief organizer. "We have definitely stuck to this principle this year." 

Obviously, there are also "premium" category items at Sziget, for which you have to dig deeper into your pockets, but you can't generalize from this, because you can get a better meal for less money if you look around more carefully.

"This year, however, we have also set a minimum price of HUF 2,500 for so-called "budget food", which every restaurant must offer," added Kádár. And on the drinks front, we can easily pay for a beer for HUF 1,600-1,700 in a Budapest venue, or buy a long drink for HUF 3.000-4,000, but in the case of Sziget, the headline is still how "high the price of beer is", which in this case is HUF 1,690. In the first year of Sziget, 1993, a pint was HUF 160. But if we consider that then it was 5.3 times the price in the shop, the situation is better now, because it is only 4.3 times as much.


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