As the worst of the Corona crisis seems to be over, most trading companies in the fruit and vegetable sector are taking stock. Also at the Freiburg wholesale market the pandemic left deep marks, says Enrico Smolik, owner of the company of the same name. Nevertheless, the experienced fruit trader is looking forward to the near future with confidence.
"We have weathered the crisis well so far," Smolik begins. Until June, the company had been struggling hard, but in the following months a gradual normalization of the market could be observed. "All in all, we are achieving about 60 to 70 percent of our normal sales."
Enrico Smolik's clientele includes restaurateurs, canteens and market traders, among others.
Gastronomy & large-scale consumption
Smolik explained that the drop in sales was mainly due to the discontinuation of the catering and large-scale consumption sectors. "Both sales markets are still suffering from the Corona requirements. Many large companies are still working in two shifts, which is why the company canteens remain partially or completely closed. One of our biggest customers still only gets 30 percent of the normal purchase quantity delivered."
In contrast to the low demand in the catering and large-scale consumption sectors, exceptionally high sales were recorded in the weekly market trade at the peak of the crisis.
Corona requirements at the Freiburg wholesale market
In contrast to many other German fresh food markets, there are no general Corona requirements at the Freiburg trading area. This is because every business owner has the opportunity to put the measures of his choice into practice. "We try to deliver more goods instead of serving the customers at the stand sales. In addition, every truck driver and supplier who comes to us must register. Finally, we have separated our office spaces on site where possible so that the rules of distance can be observed."
Less regional fruit, plenty of vegetables
Despite Corona, business with seasonal fruit and vegetables continued as usual. Smolik: "The complete salad selection is currently available, colorful and lettuce as well as first lamb's lettuce. The same applies to field vegetables from regional cultivation. German tomatoes, however, are only available in isolated cases." The price increase for colored lettuces for about two weeks is remarkable, possibly indicating a shortage of goods. "We hope to be able to continue the regional lettuce season until November, so that we can go into the French import season seamlessly."
While the vegetable sector is currently drawing on the full range of products, the supply of regional fruits is rapidly becoming scarcer. "Regional strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are still available in sufficient quantities, plums, however, are running short," Smolik describes. Above all, the bad apricot season this year will remain in the trader's memory. "I didn't see any German goods at the local wholesale market this year and imports were also scarce, but they were still quite good."
Weak marketing year
All in all, the retailer is expecting a weak marketing year in 2020: "I assume that the remaining months will also be marked by Corona, especially in the catering trade. This means that 2020 will be a year to write off."
For more information:
SMOLIK Obst- und Gemüse GmbH
GF: Enrico Smolik
Tel: +49 761-59035960
Fax: +49 761-59035977