Carsten Abenhardt expands range with organic zucchinis and Hokkaido pumpkins

"We are seeing an increased awareness of organic products among consumers"

At the Abenhardt family farm in Datteln, Rhineland, tons of conventional and organic carrots are harvested, processed and packed every year. "We have had decent carrot yields and the quality is great. Promotions in the trade with 2-kg instead of 1-kg containers are accelerating the current destocking," says Managing Director Carsten Abenhardt.

"Furthermore, we have managed to explicitly put loose carrots in the foreground. We believe that, firstly, we are meeting the consumer's desire for sustainability. Secondly, the customer can now decide for himself whether to take the common bulk container or smaller quantities. The range is rounded off with 1-kg trays. Our aim is to increase the presence of domestic carrots in the vegetable counter by means of different packaging and containers," says Abenhardt.

Outside the domestic season, mainly Spanish and French carrots are prepared and packaged. Israeli carrots, on the other hand, have lost some of their market share.

Desired price increases seem imminent
The carrot producer is also likely struggling with current challenges, such as minimum wages and rising energy and transportation costs, he said. "Our task is to make the workplace more interesting so that the employee will be available to us in the long term. Everyone in the value chain, I think, has to bear their responsibility. Conventional carrots in 2-kg containers are sometimes offered below 1 euro. We will not be able to continue that long-term. But I think that even if the prices go up a little, the consumer will still buy carrots."

Calibration requirements have become more intensive, he said, so more 75-150 gr carrots are now chosen, instead of 50-200 gr produce.

Encouraging organic carrot sales
Abenhardt also says that in the current season, it is hoped that prices will increase soon. "We have had sufficient rainfall and optimal storage conditions, so we have exceedingly good storage quality. Normally we sell out in early May, but this year we have hopes that we can carry the marketing season of domestic food carrots through to the end of May." He also said organic carrots are currently in full supply. "There is a steady sale with correspondingly good qualities, which is why we can supply organic carrots into March. We are also a little more advanced in price negotiations in the organic sector, as there are already price increases in the trade from December."

The carrot range is rounded off with snack carrots, which are traded in parallel with organic carrots into March.

Differentiation of the product range
"Organic produce is meeting a receptive market, as we are seeing increased consumer awareness of organic produce," Abenhardt continues. Last year, this led the grower to differentiate their product range, offering organic open field zucchinis and Hokkaido pumpkins as well. "We had new equipment installed to process these new crops. The zucchini is sustainably labeled, which means they are either lasered or banded. We have already been able to successfully place both crops with well-known food retail chains in the first year of cultivation."

For more information:
Carsten Abenhardt
Abenhardt GmbH & Co. KG
Markfelder Straße 15
D - 45711 Datteln
Tel: +49 (0) 2363 / 3659870
Fax: +49 (0) 2363 / 8362

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