The cabbage harvest in the northern Dithmarschen region is slowly but surely approaching its end. The plentiful supply situation for all types of cabbage is now confronted by Corona-related sales problems in the hospitality and bulk consumption sectors. This is accompanied by correspondingly low prices and loss of sales, says Ralf Gerths, Managing Director of the Oesterwurth wholesale company of the same name.
Carrots: Mainly smaller sizes
Regional carrots make up about 40 percent of the total turnover of the Gerths company. This year's harvest will soon be completed, the company says. "All in all, it will be a mediocre yield this year. Due to the drought this year, smaller sizes dominate the range of products, which consequently are traded at lower prices. This year's prices are therefore well below the average price levels."
White and red cabbage: plentiful supplies, slow market
The Dithmarschen region has a long tradition of cabbage production. The family-owned company Gerths also supplies tons of cabbages to the North German wholesale markets and food stores as well as to the processing industry. "We are observing an abundant supply situation this year and will be able to supply regional white and red cabbage until the end of June without any problems."
Meanwhile, the renewed measures regarding the hospitality industry and the reduced volumes demanded by large caterers have had a serious impact on cabbage prices. "Convenience producers who produce for daycare centers and canteens, for example, now need significantly less cabbages. The demand for raw materials for sauerkraut production is not overwhelming either. Even on the retail side, there is generally less demand for cabbages and sauerkraut". As a result, the producer prices are at 0.05-0.06 Euro/kg for loose red and white cabbage.
Pointed cabbage: Trendy product also sees drop in demand
The trendy Dithmarschen product of recent years was the pointed cabbage. The type of cabbage is becoming increasingly popular from year to year, both with producers and consumers. Gerths: "But these sold less well so far as well. But it is worth mentioning that we had a noticeable shortage of goods last year, which is why everyone was looking for pointed cabbages. This year, the supply situation is exactly the opposite, so the lack of demand is not necessarily due to Corona."
On the right:: The consumption as well as the cultivation capacity for pointed cabbage is growing steadily. This week, this year's harvest is expected to end. In Dithmarschen, pointed cabbages are sold fresh rather than out of storage.
Noticeable consequences of the pandemic
The Gerths family business is one of the oldest wholesale companies in the Dithmarschen region and mainly supplies wholesale markets, food stores and industrial customers. For the supra-regionally active vegetable wholesaler, the current pandemic is not necessarily threatening its existence, emphasizes the management. "Despite a loss of sales of about one third, we will probably be able to cope with the crisis, but the question is whether our customers will survive it."