At Munich's Sendling wholesale center, sales are rather slow at the moment. Normally the Christmas season will slowly be getting underway at this time of year, but in this exceptional Corona year, everything is different, says wholesaler Helmut Bienek, owner of the trading company of the same name.
"Many large restaurateurs have lost the demand from the hospitality industry, which is there is a loss in sales of around 50 percent," says Bienek. At the same time, fewer weekly markets are now being held, which is why they are almost completely dependent on retail sales. "Fortunately, we there are some regional franchises of well-known food retail chains among our customers."
At the wholesale market stand during a Freshplaza visit in winter 2017
Sluggish marketing situation
However, the fruit trader knows that business with the food retailer involves completely different conditions compared to the classic wholesale trade. "There are completely different quality requirements within retail and the price ranges are clearly smaller as well. In addition to this, we supply almost exclusively standard articles, such as tomatoes, apples and pears, to the retail trade: "Exotic products such as mangoes are only occasionally in demand."
Soft fruit and persimmons on sale at the stand.
Now during 'Lockdown Light', sales in the retail trade are also at a below-average level, confirms Bienek. He fears that the sluggish marketing situation will continue in the coming months. "If you look at it pragmatically, I believe that we can expect to see poor sales levels by the beginning of the new year. Because despite the strict Corona requirements in Bavaria, the figures are still high and stable. That is why I am convinced that the situation will ease somewhat from February-March 2021 at the earliest."
Colorful tropical fruits and table grapes in today's incoming goods department.
Strict checks at the wholesale market
In spite of compulsory masks and stricter controls, people try to serve those who buy locally at the wholesale market as well as they can. Bienek: "Thankfully, there are still customers who pick up their goods: However, everyone who enters the premises is checked thoroughly. There are constantly 4 to 6 officials around who are constantly checking whether the rules are being observed.
Those who nevertheless report to the 'belly of Munich' at night are rewarded accordingly. "Everything you want, you can get. We do not see any major problems or bottlenecks in the procurement of goods at the moment. In my opinion, there is also no talk of large price mark-ups at the moment."