Although the melon season is drawing to a close, food retailers are still showing some interest, as Thilo Staiger, Managing Director of Staiger Ltd, told us. Staiger also gave us an overview of the melon situation in the Stuttgart area: "At the moment, we still have Galia, honey and watermelons from Brazil on offer, but some honeydew melons from Italy as well. Demand was relatively weak this year, which was partly due to the weather. Sales were already in the lower ranges in August. Here in Stuttgart, we also face competition from Turkish suppliers, who offer watermelons at much lower prices."
Demand is there, but dwindling
Staiger began selling the melons in March/April, around the end of the last lockdown. At that time, sales were already better than in 2020. "There is not much demand from the restaurant industry anymore. Of course, when the weather is nice, things can be much better. But melons are not really gastronomy items; they are more interesting for food retailers. What we have in Stuttgart, is that we have a relatively large number of company canteens and melons are actually popular as cut, finger food. However, the canteens are at about 25% to 45% capacity, due to an increase in working from home," Staiger says. "There is still some demand, but not too much. Food retailers are now focusing more on clementines."
Classic melon range
"We have honeydews, watermelons and Galia melons in our range," says Staiger. What smaller farms are growing, is often not sold to wholesalers at all. Currently, crates of 7 honeydew melons are sold for 12 to 13 euros, crates of 5 Gala melons 14 to 15 euros and crates of 5 Italian netted melons for about 13 euros at Staiger.