The current Corona pandemic and the subsequent closure of the hospitality industry have hit the specialized suppliers in this sector particularly hard. Munich-based Früchte Feldbrach has been in crisis mode for months as well. Despite the difficult market and working conditions, however, the company is optimistic about the near future, says buyer and seller Andre Bukethal.
A large part of the firm clientele closed in the course of the forced closure of the hospitality industry. At the moment, mainly hospitals, old people's homes and other communal catering services are supplied still. "Company canteens and school catering have now also been almost completely eliminated in the course of the current lockdown. As a result, we are mainly working short-time: this means that in general, only a quarter of the usual workforce is on site," Bukethal explains.
The company warehouse of Früchte Feldbrach LLC
He says the consequences of the Corona crisis are evident at the product level as well. "Classic gastronomy items such as cresses, limes and other fancy products are hardly in demand. On the other hand, standard items such as bananas, sliced goods and herbs continue to flow. On the procurement side, we are fortunately not experiencing any bottlenecks: on the other hand, airfreighted goods are currently very expensive due to the high freight charges."
Due to the current market situation, some stocks have to be reduced. Image: Früchte Feldbrach
Cancellations and reduced stocks
Despite everything, fruits and vegetables are still needed within regional gastronomy, be it in smaller quantities only, and by certain segments. "Most upscale kitchens have already closed in June-July, and very little is going on in the catering sector as well. We have reacted to the situation by reducing inventories. In addition to all this, we have cancelled whatever was feasible on the procurement side. All in all, we are simply trying to work our way through, with smaller quantities."
From the perspective of Früchte Feldbrach, the current situation will continue for the time being. "It will remain quiet after Christmas, with January and February usually being quiet sales months for the fruit and vegetable sector anyway. So we are curious where the future will take us. We will be planning mostly for the short term."