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Hamburg importer launches campaign with brand new company name 'Elbfresh'

Egyptian spring onions more and more present in the German wholesale and retail trade

The supply of local spring onions is currently coming to an end and so imported products are getting into view. By the end of the week, the last local lots will be on the market, after which the goods from Egypt will be there. Major, Hamburg-based supplier Elbfresh is also prepared for an interesting season following its recent restructuring: parallel to the steadily growing demand in German wholesaling and retailing, production in Egypt will likely expand annually, explains managing director Mohamed Moustafa.

In the Netherlands, the first spring onions from Egypt have already been marketed: due to the presence of domestic goods, the current market still has a relatively low price level. ''The imported goods must be offered cheaply to get rid of them at all, because German products are still available. According to our sources, by the end of the week domestic goods will definitively be gone. Therefore, we decided to start the season later: Last year, we already had sold our first Egyptian goods on 05.11. Although German produce was still in the market at that time, we had a bit more scope for the pricing,'' explains Moustafa.

Production extension
The spring onions from Egyptian soil have been the focus of Hamburg importers since the company was founded. ''We have the advantage that the Egyptians are the only providers in the market at this time.  Italy stops supplying, as does Germany, and so only one supplier remains. This supplier can then ship the spring onions in large quantities, of the correct quality. At the same time, there are new producers who go into the cultivation of spring onions. There are alternative providers in this period, like Morocco, but they are new to this segment and still need to gain experience and know-how.''

Just in time for the start of this year's campaign: a new logo and appropriate packaging

According to Moustafa, at the beginning of every season there is a variety of vendors bringing their products to the market. After the turn of the year, many of them are no longer able to serve their customers accordingly. ''From the end of January to the beginning of February there will inevitably be bottlenecks. But this supply gap only lasts for 2 to 3 weeks.'' Another important factor are the clear quality requirements in the German trade. "For example, the Giza variety is hardly in demand here, in contrast to the Photon, which has long since proven itself." There are basically two phenomena in the market as well: "We market long (50 cm) and short (30 cm) stems. Depending on the season and customer group, both are in demand.''

Today's market is now being supplied with spring onions throughout the year. Although regionality is currently on everyone's lips, imported products are also selling well. ''The demand is always there, even outside the domestic supply. Furthermore, spring onions are sometimes sold through promotions, according to their availability. The season usually ends in late April-early May, just in time for the start of the domestic season.''

Egyptian fields

This year, spring onions are offered for the first time under the new Elbfresh label. This is because of the recent name change: the existing Greenstar company became Elbfresh GmbH -responsible for import processing and trade- and Elbfresh Egypt, which deals predominantly with cultivation and export. In addition to Egyptian spring onions, citrus and Turkish peppers are also being traded under the private label. ''Because of this structure, we are able to guarantee the German food retail chains and wholesale customers direct procurement of goods from the place of origin as well as a contact on the ground. In the meantime, we have 400 ha only for spring onions (about 100-150 ha of which will be planted as needed) and we as the next goal we want to supply German food retail and large customers in the Netherlands. Because of our established contacts and the location here at the Hamburg commercial hub, we are seeing interesting opportunities.''

Wholesale market in Hamburg
Elbfresh GmbH deals with the direct supply of retail chains and also has a sales booth on the Hamburg wholesale market, which accounts for half of the total sales. Both wholesalers and retailers will find a mixed range of import products - including ginger, citrus, garlic, paprika, sweet potatoes and tomatoes - from various countries of origin.

For more information:
Elbfresh GmbH
Mohamed Moustafa
Großmarkt Hamburg Stand 263
Banksstraße 28 20097 Hamburg
+49 (0) 40 / 300 618 64 

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