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Gastronomy wholesaler Tiziano Marinello from Zurich:

"Both the quality and the story behind the product are becoming increasingly important"

Tiziano Marinello, gastro-wholesaler of Marinello Picobello from Zurich, speaks about beautiful wild mushrooms and splendid porcini. He offers various mushroom imports from Eastern Europe. Five to six years ago, mixtures with Swiss mushrooms were part of their inventory as well. However, given the small quantities available, the company decided against continuing with these varieties. "Also because some catering businesses have been somewhat overwhelmed with a supply of more than ten varieties," Marinello says.

Compared to recent years, the price situation had remained relatively the same and fluctuated minimally - depending on the importer. Of the porcini mushrooms, Marinello markets about 1.8 tons, and Caesar's mushrooms are sold at volumes in the double-digit kilogram range yearly as well.

The story behind the product
Demand in the catering industry is now tending more towards traditional goods such as celeriac, while interest in exotic products is increasingly waning. Marinello explains this as follows: "The shutdowns made the catering industry think about sustainability and regionality. As a result, it has now also become more important to pay attention not only to the quality of our products, but also to the story behind the products when marketing them. Good storytelling is particularly important in the online space," Marinello says. "However, when it comes to ordering products at the click of a button, I feel there is a lack of appreciation for the product."

Marinello wants to work to support the Zurich Engrosmarkt more, especially with regard to mutual expertise. "Finally, I don't want to impose myself in an area where our focus is not." As in pretty much all countries, wholesalers have seen golden times, Marinello said. But online and direct marketing also did very well. Regarding his own business, however, Marinello expects to be slightly down again in the fall.

Sales slump by up to 40% in 2020
The company is able to take in about a third of its sales through resales to other retailers, with the majority continuing to be covered by the food service industry. Marinello, in turn, does not supply retailers. While the situation during the 2020 shutdown was not comparable to that in Germany, the Zurich-based company also experienced major declines. For example, between the end of March and mid-May, sales dropped by something between 80% and 85% compared to 2019. Just before Christmas 2020 until March 2021, the second shutdown in Switzerland, at least demand from the hotel industry was better than during the first shutdown. Still, the company had to accept negative sales of about 40% for the whole of 2020, he said.

Meanwhile, assortment demand has returned to normal. "In 2022, we want to get back to the level of 2019. From July to September 2021, things were actually quite pleasing. Prices were very high, but we had to deal with poor qualities and low availability," Marinello says.

For more information:
Tiziano Marinello
Marinello + Co AG
CH-8048 Zürich
Tel.: +41 43 44 44 500
Fax: +41 43 44 44 550

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