The corona virus now also has a firm grip on the German food sector, especially the fresh food trade. In recent weeks, several isolated cases have been detected in northern Italy. In day-to-day business, the consequences have so far been felt in isolated cases, according to a survey of specialist retailers conducted by FreshPlaza.de.
Cologne: "Slight impairment of the catering trade
No major consequences have yet been felt at the Cologne wholesale market. As usual, there was a brief increase in sales at the carnival, but now sales are somewhat slower, according to a buyer and seller from a wholesale company. But this is not necessarily connected with the virus. "Of course there are sometimes small supply bottlenecks for northern Italian products, but I don't see any serious delays coming up. Apart from that, it is more likely that those who deliver to restaurants now have a problem, but the normal shopping in the supermarket goes on as usual.
Left: View into the Cologne Großmarkthalle
Right: High activity in the Munich Grossmarkthalle
Munich: "No abnormalities in day-to-day business"
In Munich there are traditionally a large number of importers and wholesalers who have specialised in trading with Italian fresh produce. Nevertheless, the consequences of the virus have so far hardly been felt, confirms the owner of an agency on request. "We don't see any abnormalities, day-to-day business is still running regularly. Although we're talking to suppliers and customers a bit more on the phone, the virus is more in people's heads than in reality. The current situation will perhaps only have an impact on the general profitability of consumers or purchasing power. You will still have to eat, so fruit and vegetables will still be available."
Hesse: "Corona has clear influence on internal operating procedures"
Although the wholesale market business has not experienced any major problems so far, the virus has already had an impact on internal company processes, comments an independent wholesaler in Kassel. "We do not allow any external suppliers to enter our hall in order to exclude risks as far as possible. There have not yet been any corona cases in the immediate vicinity, but the affected areas are not so far away from us either. I have already heard that some companies even have people in complete suits with protective goggles and everything else around them standing at the goods receiving area", says the major distributor who delivers his goods in a radius of approx. 250 km.
Apart from that, they try to implement the reports and preventive guidelines of the Fruit Trade Association (DFHV) and the Robert Koch Institute as quickly as possible. On average, briefings about Corona take place four times a week. "Corona currently has no influence on delivery times, sales and delivery times from Italy and elsewhere. I am nevertheless convinced that the situation will change in the next few days to weeks. There could be bottlenecks, especially for products from the northern Italian regions - such as South Tyrol and Verona. But all this is still speculative at the moment."