Christian Kieslinger, Früchte Feldbrach München:

"We are just as affected as the restaurateurs"

The pandemic has put the catering industry in particular in dire straits. The future of an industry that last turned over 80 billion euros in Germany in 2019 will probably be at stake. Inevitably, this will also affect fresh food traders at local wholesale markets, such as the Munich-based fruit wholesaler Früchte Feldbrach. "Initially, the gastronomers suffer, but secondly and thirdly, we suppliers suffer. We are just as affected as the restaurateurs," said CEO Christian Kieslinger in an interview with Business Insider.

Wholesalers like Feldbrach, who are indirectly affected by the closure of the gastronomy sector, were already able to apply for bridging aid from July last year. Depending on the drop in sales, they calculated a pro-rata subsidy for fixed costs. With more than 70 per cent turnover decrease it should receive 80 per cent of the fixed costs in the promotion month. The basis for the calculation: the costs of the previous month. But the maximum subsidy was initially set at 50,000 euros per month. For the supplier, this was quite little compared to the seven-figure turnover.

The situation is different for retailers who have been able to convert parts of their business, reports Frank Willhausen of the GFI-Deutsche Frischemärkte association, which represents 95 percent of wholesale market operators in Germany, Switzerland and northern Italy. Sales declines among wholesalers, so-called market companies, also affect wholesale markets as a platform on which traders trade. Losses here are reflected, for example, in outstanding rents for space.

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