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Friweika eG relies on everyday and low-cost potato products

Germany: ‘Convenience food potato sector very strong’

In recent years, the German consumer has become acquainted with a large number of new potato products. Despite trendy articles such as coloured tubers and the sweet potato, the customer mainly focuses on regular potato products. Saxon potato distributor Friweika notes, however, that the trend regarding potatoes is shifting to low-cost, simple products.

Friweika eG’s portfolio has been expanding steadily over the years, now containing more than 80 potato and onion products. Both the prepackaged raw potatoes and the processed tubers are shipped throughout Europe. Although taste varies per federal state, the demand for peeled and processed potatoes is very high, says sales manager Erik Richter. “In general one can say that the convenience area has developed very strongly, especially in recent years.”

Sales Manager Erik Richter shows the potato products of Friweika eG

The potato remains an irreplaceable basic product, despite the variety of similar products such as the sweet potato. However, Friweika eG does not believe in the competitiveness of the sweet potato. A wide-ranging distribution of this niche product is not what the company specializes in, Richter said. "We once tried a sweet potato gratin, but it did not really take and was therefore not developed further.”

Elsewhere in the Federal Republic of Germany people are currently experimenting with the cultivation of colourful, often ancient potato varieties. The Bayerische Kartoffel GmbH, for example, have brought the Blaue St. Galler out of obscurity. The Saxon producers are reluctant in this area as well, since this is also a niche product that is primarily of interest to the weekly markets. Richter: “Marketing this product in our view is too expensive in relation to the demand. For eight years, however, we have had the red-skinned Laura in our range, which is very well received by the customers.”

Erik Richter and Deputy Chairman Marko Wunderlich at their booth at Fruit Logistica

Apart from the rise of competitive products, there is currently a very different problem in the potato industry. Because of a surprisingly large harvest, there are about 15 percent more goods in the market than per usual. As a result, competition is high and the low prices barely cover the costs. Richter: “Normally, prices should rise gradually, but the omens are rather bad.”

On the left: two of the company's most popular processed potatoes
product ranges. Right: packaged Laura potatoes with their red peels

Short routes
Friweika eG has existed for almost 50 years and has established itself over the years as an efficient potato and onion company. About 25 growers are affiliated with the cooperative in Saxony through individual cultivation contracts. The company attaches much importance to short transport routes and a good eco-balance. Accordingly, Friweika has three local storage centres with a total capacity of approximately 45,000 tonnes. Its clientele consists mainly of wholesalers and retailers, as well as industrial companies in Germany and abroad.

For more information:
Friweika eG
Dr. Andreas Kramer 
Lipprandiser Str. 27
D-08373 Weidensdorf/Sachsen
Tel.: +49-(0) 37 63-17 72 20
Fax: +49-(0) 37 63-40 25 98 5

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