It is becoming increasingly important for suppliers on the German fresh food markets to cover the market gaps and niches in the industry. This is the only way to distinguish themselves from the larger food retail markets in today's world. For the traditional Stuttgart company Werner Ebert LLC & Co, this is probably nothing new: The company has been active in the field of unusual and exclusive fresh products for 40 years, explains Deputy Managing Director Klaus Jürgen Braun when asked.
Domestic fruit and vegetables still determine the seasonal supply of the fruit wholesale trade. But even during the summer, the company relies in particular on exclusive imported goods, such as Charentais melons from the premium brand Philibon. "Currently, the melons come from France and Spain. But around the cold season they are flown in from Guadeloupe. So we can offer our customers exclusive premium melons for almost 12 months of the year."
The prices of Charentais melons are adjusted, depending on the season. Currently, the unit prices are at €3. In winter, when the batches come from the southern hemisphere, the prices are about twice as high.
Over time, Philibon has become a recognised and popular fruit brand. Braun: "The demand for Charentais is excellent. The product is particularly sought after, especially by those who value quality and want to offer something exclusive. Philibon is, so to speak, the Mercedes S class among melons."
Not just Charentais melons, but mangoes, pure Claude plums and Chasselas grapes are sold under this label at the Stuttgart wholesale market as well. The high season for exotic fruits usually lasts from the beginning of October to March-April.
Broadly diversified premium assortment
Werner Ebert LLC has been a recognised address for high-quality fruit and vegetables for 40 years now. "We start where other suppliers stop in terms of assortment. We simply cannot compete with supermarkets, but we can still stand out with premium articles. Although we already have a large network of loyal suppliers, we are constantly looking for producers who offer something new," says Braun.
According to Braun, the company has established itself as an innovative pioneer right from the start. "We were the first to supply crates with deposits from Belgium, when everyone still used disposable crates. The same applies to products from the Rungis wholesale market. Nowadays, we receive shipments from Paris several times a week."
Left: Granadillas are similar to passion fruit from Colombia. Right: Flying papayas
New approaches for accredited kitchens
The company's main clientele includes market suppliers and gastronomers. The latter have suffered considerable sales losses due to the Corona crisis. "The restaurant business is still far from its usual levels." But the main focus of the fruit trade has not changed. "Star chefs do not really cook; they compose. Our task is to provide new materials to innovative dishes."
For more information:
Klaus Jürgen Braun
Werner Ebert GmbH & Co. KG
Langwiesenweg 30 (Großmarkt)
Tel 0711 / 48 04 51-0
Fax 0711 / 48 04 51-50