Due to lockdowns and the associated restrictions in the catering and bulk consumption sectors, the year 2021 was anything but easy for the Hamburg fruit wholesalers. Despite everything, one remains cautiously optimistic at the traditional company Elbegarten Ltd -with locations in Glückstadt and Hamburg-, Managing Director Silke Hauschildt tells us.
Right: Silke Ha uschildt runs the company together with her brothers Jörn and Kai.
Currently, sales are rather quiet, typical for the season, says Hauschildt. "The restrictions in the catering industry are still making themselves felt. We just have the advantage that we are also a reliable partner of the retailers. Furthermore, many weekly market vendors also buy from us, so we've been able to compensate for the loss of sales to some extent so far."
Easter replaces Christmas
According to Hauschildt, the procurement of goods has also been made considerably more difficult in recent weeks. "There was a threat of strikes in Spain, an important sourcing country for vegetables during the cold season. Fortunately, it didn't come to that." Meanwhile, she said, Christmas business was relatively more subdued. Regardless of Corona, the Christmas season seems to be losing relevance in recent years, Hauschildt continues. "We have been observing this trend for several years now. It is now the case that Easter is more interesting for us in terms of marketing than Christmas."
Thanks to a modern vehicle park, the goods can be delivered quickly throughout northern Germany. Image: Elbegarten Ltd
Corona measures in everyday practice
In the wake of the Corona pandemic, traders at northern Germany's leading wholesale market are rather blasé, Hauschildt further tells us. "Everyone is annoyed." In the workplace, the legal measures apply to everyone, whether in the office, at the wholesale market stand or elsewhere. "The Corona measures go hand in hand with an incredible amount of bureaucracy, and who knows what else is in store."
In the shadow of today's crisis, Elbegarten is still concerned about sustainability in its day-to-day operations. Says Hauschildt: "Where possible, we try to avoid deposit packaging, such as EPS boxes and unnecessary packaging material, using sustainable alternatives such as cardboard trays so that we can work in a more environmentally friendly way. Furthermore, we are currently in the process of retrofitting our cooling systems in a sustainable manner and using regional FSC paper wherever possible. By means of increasing digitalization, we are trying to avoid paper."