The market for soft fruits is growing significantly every year. "We still see opportunities for soft fruits on the German market, both in fresh markets and in the food retail trade. The growth rates for blueberries and raspberries in particular are encouraging," said Mehmet Bozkurt, Managing Director of Fruchtjäger LLC,a company specializing in soft fruit and supplier to German wholesale and retail customers.
Despite Corona: 'Good, stable strawberry harvest'
The Dortmund native is currently fully engaged in the strawberry harvest: "We are now simultaneously marketing Dutch greenhouse products and the first German strawberries of this year's season. The Dutch batches are still listed at regional food retail outlets, but I expect that next week or the week after next they will switch completely to regional strawberries," Bozkurt said.
Dutch greenhouse strawberries are mainly marketed to the retail trade in 400g trays. German batches in 500g units are mainly traded on the wholesale markets at the beginning of the season, but retailers are also expected to switch to German strawberries soon.
Despite the looming shortage of harvesters on German strawberry farms, there is no talk of an extraordinary market situation according to Bozkurt. "The quality and quantities are stable and satisfactory. Demand is even slightly better than in the previous year," said the specialist wholesaler, who mainly obtains his batches from the surrounding Münsterland region.
Raspberries & Blueberries: Stars among soft fruits
Parallel to the vast quantities of strawberries that are traded seasonally, Bozkurt also offers his customers Dutch and Moroccan raspberries. "German raspberries are currently not yet available in trade-relevant quantities, so we still have to fall back on imported goods. However, the market share of raspberries is increasing year by year."
The major supplier of blueberries sees a similar trend: "Last year we were able to purchase blueberries from our Serbian contract growers for the first time. Cultivated blueberries generally require three years before full quantities can be harvested. But from next year, we expect a total yield of at least 100 tonnes," explains Bozkurt. The first Serbian blueberries are expected to arrive in just over two weeks. Depending on the response on the German fresh food markets, we will try to place the goods in German food retail stores in the future."
Kiwi berries: First regional fruits from September
Last but not least, this year Fruchtjäger will also be able to offer regional kiwi berries for the first time. "We have found a producer in the Münsterland region who cultivates the berries on approx. 8 hectares. We will offer the kiwi berries from September onwards and want to expand the quantity to be marketed every year."