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Hospitality industry growing due to high property prices in cities

Local, organic and forgotten vegetables hip on Swedish menus

At the loading docks, there are dozens of roll containers. Some have multiple crates, others with only one box. Not a single one is completely full, but yet, these containers will be loaded by drivers in the coming hours, to be delivered to restaurants and hospitality businesses in and around Göteburg. This demonstrates the power of the industry, says Anders Andersson, manager at Grönsakshallen Sorunda, a business in Göteburg. Nothing is too crazy, and you have to keep brainstorming with the chefs, because if the chef of a small restaurant moves to a large restaurant, you want him to remember who supplied his fruit and vegetables.

Orders are nicely presented to the customer.

swedish tomatoes in different colours.

“Our clients are restaurants, ‘fine dining’ establishments and the food service industry,” says Anders. The Swedes like to dine out. People living in Stockholm spend 51% of their expenditure on food that is eaten outside the home. For a city like Göteburg this percentage lies at 16%. According to Anders, this has to do with high house prices, which make the Swedes opt for small apartments. This means you meet up with friends outside of your home.

Fruit, vegetables and ham?
This hospitality industry supplier’s history begins with a crate of potatoes and a single hotel in Stockholm. The Grand Hotel in the Swedish capital city, is far from a simple youth hostel. This renowned hotel has a reputation to uphold. In the mid-80’s, Gunnar Netz, the fortunate trader, managed to convince the hotel to buy these potatoes. As a result, in the years to follow, he built a network of hospitality wholesalers. At present, the company is in the hands of Martin & Severa, a conglomerate of several Swedish businesses, which in turn, is owned by a listed company. With four branches across Sweden, the group has a turnover of 780 million Swedish Krona. “Here in Göteburg, the turnover is about 48 million Swedish Krona,” says Anders.

Anders Andersson shows one of his favourite products: cress.

These orders are ready for delivering.

“We are experts when it comes to fruit and vegetables,” says Anders. “This is how we try to stay ahead of the competition.” Yet, the first thing you see when you enter the warehouse is a shelf of cheese. Next to that, in a cupboard, hang a few hams, and in a separate area there are jars of olive oil, vinegar and dried products. “Chefs are lazy”, explains Anders. Their range is, therefore, a bit wider than just fruit and vegetables. Anders walks to a refrigerator and pulls out a tin. He removes the lid and the distinctive aroma of truffles fills the room. These mushrooms, priced at 600 SEK, are not expensive at the moment.

“It is difficult to find delivery men,” says Anders. “There are many immigrants, but then there is the language barrier. The delivery men are our business cards. They convey to the sellers what they hear from the client. Then being able to speak Swedish is must.”

“We deliver around-the-clock,” explains Anders Andersson. For six days of the week, eleven deliveries can be done per client. This begins in the early morning and ends in the late afternoon. “We are considering being open on Sundays as well”, says Anders. This would make them a true 24/7 service deliverer.

Forgotten vegetables are hip again

Not all the restaurants ask for such luxurious products. “We try to get the right products to the right clients. The healthy trend is enormous, and, for example, salad bars are becoming more popular. The number of fast food restaurants are also, however, increasing”, says Anders. The chefs at luxury restaurants are always looking for new products. Locally grown and organic products are doing well, but forgotten vegetables are also becoming popular again. Anders picks up a bag of yin yang beans. “These black and white beans have not been eaten for the last 50 years. Now there is a demand for them again”, he says.

Not only fresh produce at the warehouse. This room is filled with products like dried beans, oils and vinegar.

Another product that chefs use to distinguish themselves, is edible flowers, of which some are picked in Sweden. The season is almost over, since there is no production during the winter months. Anders proudly points out the rows of boxes filled with cress. A little further in the warehouse, the orders are being filled. Onion are counted out individually. Despite their low prices, there are chefs who prefer not to store onions until the next day.

Anders shows fresh cut carrots in different colours and Swedish tomatoes.

Mexican and Japanese cuisines are becoming ever more popular in Sweden. This changes the products offered by wholesalers, and also filters through to restaurant menus. At Grönsokshallen Sorunda in Göteburg, this trend can be clearly seen.

Fresh cut products.

Local and organic products are becoming more important, but some clients are still cost-conscious. About 15% of the range is organic, 10 to 12% is local. “It is difficult to get ample local produce. Growers are trying to expand, but that also costs money.” During the season, as much local produce as possible is bought. Some products in the range are offered solely as organic. “The price difference of organic versus conventional kiwis is not that big, so we only offer these as organic”, explains Anders. This is also the case with sweet peppers, oranges, apples, tomatoes and limes.

Edible flowers, Belgian strawberries, Swedish tomatoes and 'forgotten' yin yang beans.

More information:
Grönsakshallen Sorunda
Anders Andersson
15 Exportgatan
422 46
Hisings Backa
Tel: + 31 380 12 00

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