Solidarity and loyalty between producers, suppliers and bulk buyers has been very strong during the pandemic, so far. People are trying to support each other wherever possible, so that the supply of fresh produce can be maintained as the crisis continues. "Raiffeisen Obst und Gemüse LLC in Leverkusen is there for its customers as well, in these hard times," says Ogulcan Sariboga.
A lot has also changed at the Leverkusen pick-up market since spring 2020. "Trade has boomed since the beginning of the crisis, and sales of some items have roughly tripled. But large-scale hoarding - of potatoes and onions, for example - as in the first lockdown, are no longer happening at the moment," says Sariboga on the rapid fluctuations in market activity.
Ogulcan Sariboga is a dedicated buyer and seller at the Raiffeisen fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Leverkusen-Opladen.
The slump in sales in the food service sector had a dramatic effect on everyday business, he adds. "However, we were able to compensate for this with our wide range of products and still continue to grow. Especially with our soft fruit."
The company's cold store.
Fresh honey pomelos in the goods receiving area.
Advantageous cooperation with Landgard
"The cooperation between Raiffeisen and Landgard benefits not only our customers, but above all the producers and the agricultural sector. The fruit and vegetables we sell come from Landgard subsidiary Walter Pott LLC, here in Leverkusen as well as from Landgard sites in Roisdorf, Kehl and Straelen-Herongen. Behind them are many hundreds of individual growers. For these farms, our market is another distribution channel and increases their sales security."
Gastronomers and retailers are served with daily fresh goods in the pick-up market or via delivery, depending on their needs.
Will there be a boom in the fresh food trade?
At the company's long-standing location in the Opladen district, there is a total of almost 7,000 m² of hall space available. The fruit wholesaler has modern loading ramps, two cold storage rooms and - last but not least - its own potato warehouse. According to Sariboga, these premises and capacities will be fully needed even after the crisis. "We expect that there will probably be first relaxations from April at the latest. After that, as soon as the catering trade is allowed to reopen, I expect a boom in the regional fresh produce trade and we will then be fully available to our customers with quality fresh goods."