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Thomas Walberg, Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import:

"Brand diversity is diminishing in Germany"

Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import Ltd (HOWA) has been active since 1980; it has been located in the community of Kisdorf near Hamburg since 1996. HOWA offers a range of 300 to 400 dried fruits such as cranberries and Medjoul dates, complemented by nut varieties such as almonds, macadamias and cashews. The company's managing director, Thomas Walberg, spoke to us about the current dried fruit situation in Germany, and other things.

Thomas Walberg looks at Turkish figs.

Increased freight costs
"We import our almonds from Australia. There, the almond industry is not as pronounced as in the United States. In our experience, that's beneficial for the almonds because the lower volumes mean the product is handled more gently and is therefore damaged less," Walberg says. "Prices are rising more and more, which is understandable given the reduced volumes as well as increased freight costs."

HOWA sources cranberries from the U.S., Canada and Chile, with the main country of purchase continuing to be the U.S., despite tariff disadvantages. "Supply shortages have definitely occurred this year as well. As ocean freight rates have gone up and some containers are just left in ports." The supply situation is therefore much worse because of the container situation.

Brand diversity is diminishing
HOWA supplies suppliers across Europe that provide the foodservice industry with the products, which include cruise ships. "We also sell our goods to the processing industry and partly to food retailers, but not yet across the board because the interest is not there as much."

According to Walberg, brand diversity with regard to dried fruit is also dying out more and more in Germany: "Unlike in other European countries, there are almost only three major brands here, which means that the product ranges are being streamlined and everything is being standardized. In Germany, goods can almost only be sold by mass. Food safety is at a very high level in our country, but the select qualities in the premium range are unfortunately increasingly being left out of the equation."

Exports throughout Europe
HOWA also exports goods to other European countries, which include countries such as Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy. A special focus is on Switzerland as well.

For more information:
Thomas Walberg
Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import GmbH
Henstedter Straße 21
24629 Kisdorf
Tel: +49 (0) 4193 9819 - 0
Fax: +49 (0) 4193 9819 - 50

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