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Manuel Pentz (Pentz LLC & Co) on marketing pre-cut vegetables

"Worst case scenario unfolded for us during the lockdown"

At Pentz LLC & Co, the winter season is now getting started. The current highlight in the autumnal assortment of the wholesale trade is the Hokkaido pumpkin, which is predominantly offered in a ready-to-cook form. "We see a considerable increase in demand this year, especially as the Hokkaido is establishing itself more and more as a trend product. We offer the Hokkaido as a convenience product from our own plants, in different cube sizes - about 5, 10 and 15 mm. The 15 mm variant is the most popular with our customers," says Managing Director Manuel Pentz, who runs the company with his father Markus and brother Maximilian.


Manuel, Markus and Maximilian Pentz, together at the helm of the family business.

Wherever possible, the raw materials for the in-house convenience production are sourced from the region. "For the Hokkaido, we have found a good partner who continuously supplies us with steady volumes as bagged goods. However, with the Hokkaido pumpkin, we have found that ultimately it is not regionality but the quality of the goods that is decisive for the customer. Nevertheless, we are now able to offer our customers regional pumpkins from the beginning of September to the beginning of November," says Pentz. Out of season, goods are purchased from neighboring countries depending on availability, pricing and quality.


Fresh, regionally cultivated Hokkaido pumpkins are processed on site in Essingen, according to customer requirements.

Delay of the import season
At product level, the seasonal change to imported goods is currently being implemented. Cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, radishes and the like only occasionally arrive from German fields. Soon the switch to Italian goods will be complete. Meanwhile, the citrus season is slowly picking up speed and soon the first clementines, lemons and oranges are expected from the Spanish partner company. "Last year, the season change generally took place a little earlier. This is of course related to Corona as well. In general, less goods are needed in the catering and bulk consumption sectors, which is why the supply is greater than the demand. This means that, depending on the shelf life of the product, regional goods can be offered for longer."

Temporary solution
The Pentz company was founded in the late 1940s and is currently managed by the 4th generation. Since 2007 there is a second main pillar besides the classical wholesale trade, namely the production of pre-cut vegetables. "During the lockdown, the 'worst case scenario' unfolded for us, because sales to canteens and restaurateurs was brought to a standstill due to the closure of the hospitality industry. The turnover in the food retail sector has been able to partially compensate for these losses, but the margins in this sector are significantly lower. The bottom line is that we too have definitely suffered sales losses."


Hokkaido diced pumpkin for catering trade and bulk consumers

In order to further reduce losses during the lockdown, Pentz has been able to flexibly adjust the convenience production according to the 'new normal'. "We put our new headquarters into operation in February of this year and were therefore able to adapt our production structure flexibly and in a fun way. We then decided to produce fruit cups for the regional retailers. This way, we were able to maintain the working hours of our staff and continue to use our premises 100%. However, this is only a temporary solution; a longer-term continuation of this division would not be an option."


In addition to field and root vegetables, salads are processed as well.

Solid middle of the road course required
The management of the family-owned company does not expect a second closure of the catering trade, but it does expect a renewed tightening of the regulations. Pentz: "We hope that a good middle of the road course between reason and economic thinking will be found. In the end, people should act for the common good."

For more information:
Pentz GmbH & Co.KG
Manuel Pentz
Willy-Messerschmitt-Str. 18
73457 Essingen
Tel.: +49 (0) 7365 / 964 680
Fax: +49 (0) 7365 / 922 2132
Email: info@pentz-online.de  
https://www.facebook.com/obstgemuesepentz  


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