Despite the current closure of restaurants, potatoes, onions and garlic are finding their way to consumers. Volker Reuter, site manager of Reuter & Heka at the Duisburg wholesale market, is aware that high-quality vegetable onions in particular are well received by outlets such as weekly markets and specialist retailers.
In January and February, marketing is traditionally a bit slower. "Also, of course, there was the cold snap, which had a noticeable effect on the markets. But we are glad that we are allowed to work at all in these times of Corona and can be there for our existing customers," the wholesaler says.
The team of Reuter & Heka LLC. On the right: Volker Reuter.
Reuter & Heka LLC has been based at the Duisburg wholesale market for about 40 years and serves a broad regional clientele. "Our clientele is about one-third gastronomy, one-third weekly market vendors and one-third retail customers. That is why the closure of the gastronomy industry has affected us less," says Reuter.
High demand for vegetable onions
A significant part of his gastromy clientele has managed to set up pick-up or delivery services. As a result, he said, product pickups can be maintained, roughly. "Spanish onions are selling decently right now. Small-caliber onions from the Palatinate are also seeing a brisk demand. In addition, we also stock red onions in 10-kg containers."
The company warehouse: Reuter & Heka LLC has a site in Gelsenkirchen, in addition to its headquarters at the Duisburg wholesale market.
The pick-up trade is booming in times of Corona as well, says the site manager. In this segment, fancy vegetable products are still in high demand, he says. Reuter: "We offer French l'Autrec garlic as a mixed pallet, together with shallots. This service is particularly appreciated by weekly market traders in the wider area. Standard potatoes and onions, however, remain the big sales drivers. For less well-know items -such as sweet or white onions- on the other hand, the demand is more sporadic."
Flexible wholesale partner still needed
All in all, the management of the traditional company is quite positive about the future. "Regardless of Corona, the lively business at the local wholesale market that once existed has, of course, more or less disappeared in recent years. Many buyers now travel directly to Venlo. However, I am convinced that good potatoes and onions are more in demand than ever. For this, you simply need a regional, flexible partner. There is a reason that many pick-up customers from the immediate vicinity still buy from us."