The Fruit Logistica in Berlin has three usual ingredients: a temperature below zero, chaos around the buses after the end of the day and a quiet Friday. This was also the case this year for the three-day trade fair, which transforms the German capital into the Fruit and Vegetable capital of the world. Thanks to a new hall, there was more room for Latin American countries, which was reflected in the number of new companies, and the South African exhibitors moved to this hall. The large number of halls, however, was not appreciated by everyone. Not every hall attracted as many visitors and while, for example, hall 25 suffered some congestions in the aisle, you could walk around in the City Cube or in hall 7.1 in relative peace.
While last year's strikes at the airport in Brussels and a blizzard in the US disturbed air traffic to the fair, things went smoothly this year. Wednesday was considered positive by all traders. From the first minute, there were many visitors. Opinions are mixed on the second day. The exhibitors in the City Cube were somewhat disappointed by the number of visitors. The hall, which is a little out of the way, drew fewer visitors this year than last year. Exhibitors in halls 7.1 and 8.1 also complained about the low number of visitors. Moreover, traders told us that this year, they missed some good contacts with regular visitors to the fair.
New hall makes positive contribution, but also creates confusion
The South African companies, with some Latin American countries, were housed in the new hall 26. They were delighted because the hall attracted more visitors than hall 7.1, where the South African companies had been placed last year. The number of visitors was good. Some companies postponed their appointments from Wednesday and Thursday to the traditionally quiet Friday. Two large companies are considering booking a larger stand next year to be able to receive all visitors.
The growth of the fair is not perceived as positive by everyone. The maze of halls can be confusing and a plea has been made for the supply of better information on the shortest routes between halls. There is also a demand for more information at hand and larger floor plans in order to improve the navigation through the halls, but that is up to the fair's organizers to address.
Click here for the photos of international exhibitors
Latin American exhibitors
"Quiet" Thursday after a very busy Wednesday
The Spanish traders rated Wednesday as a good day, better than expected. That made the expectations for Thursday, usually the busiest trading day, high, but that second day was disappointing. Also in the Dutch hall the visitor numbers on the "busy Thursday" were disappointing. Also, there seems to be a trend among Dutch traders to make appointments with customers outside the trade fair. Many trading companies featured fresh packs in their assortment.
The number of horticultural suppliers has grown considerably in recent years and it has become possible to put a very decent greenhouse group together by visiting halls 6.1, 7.1 and 8.1. Of course, this does not happen at the fair itself, but it is easy enough to find the suppliers. Hot topics in horticulture include LED lighting and vertical farming, substrates and ways to minimise the amount of labour required in a greenhouse.
Breeders are also extensively present at the fair and do generally really well. What is most usually sought is a similar production to that of the standard variety, but with a distinction in terms of taste, labour, shelf life and presentation.
For the full Fruit Logistica 2018 report, including the trends in specific countries or continents, click here.