Cooperative Vienna LGV focuses on regionality, innovation and cooperation

“Offering greenhouse products together with other regional wares”

It was a successful year for the LGV vegetable cooperative in Vienna. Following the opening of the innovative "Gärtnergschäftl" business and the renewed cooperation with the friendly production company Seewinkler Sonnengemüse in Burgenland, a completely new brand was recently launched. From Andreas Melanzani to Martin's mini-cucumbers to Stefans Mini San Marzano: the vegetable product line strives to show the family roots of the individual 100 producers in all the regional products. Meanwhile, new varieties are being tested as well, like the greenhouse production of turmeric and ginger.

Regional production
A personal touch distinguishes LGV Frischgemüse GmbH from mass produced vegetables. For this purpose, not only the unique product label of the own brand LGV is used, but a direct link to the respective producer is always there as well. The cooperative has recently introduced the gardener vegetable product line, with the approximately 25 types of vegetables now showing their family roots. “About half of the products on the local supermarket shelf belong to the Gärtnergemüse brand. The other specialties are marketed under the LGV label,” said CEO Florian Bell. “Regionality has a very big impact in Austria. We also want to support traceability or transparency as a LGV. We want to be able to show who the person and/or family behind the product is”

CEO Florian Bell of LGV Frischgemüse eG

Despite the popularity of domestic products during the main season, domestic competition is rather intense, especially in the area of greenhouse products. As a result, a traditional company such as the LGV Cooperative will have to differentiate itself from industrial production through eye-catching marketing, an irresistible quality and full traceability of its products. Bell: “Although we operate on 205 hectares - of which 185 hectares are suitable for protected cultivation - the LGV still consists of family businesses. Our approximately 100 members operate at most on a few hectares, but by the diversity of their products we can make a difference.”

Variety diversity & cooperation
Austrian greenhouse production also tends towards snack vegetables and colourful specialties. Bell: “Baby spinach and lamb's lettuce are now the most popular products in Austria in spring, as well as the snack cucumbers with a length of about 7 centimeters. Meanwhile, six out of ten cucumbers produced in Austria are coming from the gardeners of the LGV fresh vegetables. Furthermore, we are currently engaged in the cultivation of turmeric and ginger in our greenhouses. But we are still in the test phase. Even the Viennese Haidesalats are currently very exciting. Through this product line we want to present some lettuce specialties on the market like Baby Leaf.”

In addition to the continuous development of greenhouse production, the LGV cooperative has also recognized the importance of cooperating. It is no coincidence that their cooperation with Seewinkler Sonnengemüse GmbH, which ended in 2012, was revived at the beginning of the year. Bell: “Our idea was that together we could offer everything from one source. Each cooperative has its own specialties, but together we have the largest and most varied range within all of Austria. The SSG is located in Burgenland; a sunny area on the eastern border which is very suitable for outdoor vegetables. The strength of the LGV, on the other hand, is the greenhouse production and of course our proximity to Vienna, which is why we have very short ways to the retailers. And from here we also export, to southern Germany among others.”

The sales area of the 'Gärtnergschäftl'

The collaboration with business partners also extends beyond the boundaries of the fresh food area. A corresponding example is the Gärtnergschäftl, which was founded last year and which came about through crowdfunding. "We are very proud that we raised € 300,000 within one week and were able to launch this innovative online business. With this platform, we address consumers directly, offering our vegetable specialties in very small quantities and without packaging. It is basically a small supermarket, where you not only will find vegetables, but complementary foods such as dairy, drinks and meat specialties from the region as well. We do this together with about 40 regional partners. Starting this month, we will also be offering this distinctive range in our vegetable crates, selling online this May.”

The cooperative is constantly looking for new marketing and cultivation methods, says Bell. Among other things, the company is involved in an urban gardening project, a great opportunity to get people interested in horticulture and growing. Furthermore, the cooperative has also been interested in the new solutions in the cultivation process. Bell: "We're currently working on Vertical Farming, but that is still in the startup phase."

For more information:
LGV - Frischgemüse Wien
1110 Wien, Haidestraße 22
Tel: +43 1 76069 700
Fax: +43 1 76069 701

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