The marketing of regional cresses was almost completely paralysed by Corona and the subsequent closure of the gastronomy industry. Nevertheless, the management of innovative cultivation company Munich Micros looks back on the past few months with a predominantly positive outlook. "The overwhelming response to our private sales has shown us that our cresses are well received by the retail trade as well," Managing Director Kevin Jühlcke explains.
Firmly anchored in the (supra)regional gastronomy
Munich Micros LLC was founded in 2018 as an innovative company, cultivating cresses: Within a very short time, firm partnerships were established with three major suppliers at the Munich wholesale market. Since last year, gastro-wholesaler Obst Häusler in Allgäu has been supplied weekly with fresh cresses from Munich cultivation as well. In close consultation with the seed producer, the selection of cress varieties was expanded to a total of 26. "At the beginning of the year, the market launch of our Tropical Mix -a great mixture of tropical fruits and red beets, as well as Tagetes (with pineapple-like aromas)- took place."
But in February and March the Corona pandemic up-ended everything and sales to the Bavarian gastronomy industry collapsed in the course of the lockdown. For Munich Micros LLC, this meant the most important sales channel was closed. "We asked ourselves the question: Where else can we optimize our company and the product? We took the opportunity to redefine our delivery processes."
Two new varieties in the Munich Micros catalogue: The Tropical Mix (l) and Tagetes.
Astonishing response at the yard sale
Meanwhile the management has also decided to open a yard sale at the company's premises in Munich-Planegg. Originally produced for the catering trade, the sprouted vegetables were partly tailored to the everyday kitchens of private households. "For example, we have put together a salad mix (on the right in the picture) from five of our most popular microgreens," Jühlcke explains. The response from regional end consumers has been astonishing right from the start. "It may have been born out of necessity, but a completely new sales market has opened up. In this sense, Corona has also created new marketing opportunities".
Due to the overwhelming response from consumers, the management decided to enter the retail sector. "For us, it is important to find a partner in the retail trade for the first time. Once we do, I certainly see opportunities for our cresses as a niche or side dish in salad counters." However, the retail trade is accompanied by completely different requirements compared to the catering trade, for example in the area of packaging. "We are now thinking about how we can package our microgreens in an appealing way. It is still important to us that the product is in the foreground."
Gastronomy sales back to normal in some places
Regardless of the company's entry into the retail trade, gastronomy remains the core competence of the company. In this sales segment, too, the low point seems to have been overcome, said Jühlcke.
"It's starting up again, regular customers that we served before the crisis are coming back to us. Particularly with our main clientele - the upscale kitchens - things are obviously looking up again. That's where you go especially. But the taverns and restaurants are a bit slower. Similar conditions can be felt between the country and the city. "In tourist areas like the Allgäu, the gastronomes have risen early again, but in the big city things are more hesitant."