In the Europe-wide trade, the demand for fresh, regional products is increasing at a rapid pace. Organic fruit and vegetables are also booming on the Austrian market. However, it is not just the fresh produce that quickly finds its way to the customer, because processed organic products are also increasingly in focus.
Biohof Fink, in the heart of the Austrian growing region of Styria, has recognized this trend and is now increasingly focusing on this growing product segment. FreshPlaza spoke with the company's subsidiary, Sandra Domweber, at the beginning of this year's open field season.
"For nearly two weeks, our field are hotbeds of activity; because the first vegetables of the season are already being harvested. Our main production consists of are leeks and radishes," explains Domweber. "The demand for organics has long been there, but we are still seeing steady growth. We are also seeing that the number of producers and suppliers in our region is gradually increasing."
With modern vehicles, regional gastronomers are supplied daily.
In use at every stage of the supply chain
The company supplies its broad product range to food retailers, wholesalers and regional restaurateurs. "We strive to make contact in every area, whether it be retail, wholesale or catering. Although organic products have not yet established themselves in every customer group, they are coming on slowly," says Domweber. Due to the complementary imports in winter, the company is able to offer a substantial part of the assortment all year round. In winter, many goods are sourced from neighboring countries.
The main location of the company, in the heart of Styria
Processed products as growth market
But the company's latest interest lies in processed products. In the in-house production facility, for example, apple chips are produced from superfluous apples. Juices and beet salad also belong to this segment. "There is clearly the development of our company," commented Domweber. "Fresh produce already has it all."
The company is trying to make the convenience production large-scale: leek are made available pre-cut in cups, as vegetables for soup. This is aimed at the increasing number of single households. "Our ultimate goal is that we can serve the full range of customers, from the single consumer to larger hotels or markets. For this we have organic power boxes for private customers, as well as a delivery company, so that we can supply the regional hotel and catering industry quickly and flexibly."
Sandra and Peter Domweber at this year's BioFach, where the Aronia products were presented for the first time.
Aronia berries: Great interest in new cultivation project
Fink also deals with the processing sector and now works with a large number of producers in the region. Together with these producers, since this year they are doing a project for Aronia berries, which are used for different purposes. Domweber: "We find that this nutrient-rich berry grows very well here in the area. We process the regional berries into different products that we offer to the trade. This way, we try to educate the people about the berry and its active ingredients."