Food waste is on everyone's lips these days. In everyday practice, however, tons of perishable food such as fruit and vegetables are thrown into the garbage can every year, instead of being recycled and/or marketed elsewhere. With his new Fred4Food initiative, Dirk Radack, managing director of the Hamburg-based wholesale market Bananen-Fred, is now actively fighting this ongoing food waste. The results so far have been particularly promising, he explains.
Dirk Radack is a second generation manager of the Bananen-Fred family business
As the company name reveals, Bananen-Fred finds its origins in the banana trade. Once, the founder of the company and father of today's managing director, Fred Radack, bought bananas directly from ships in the free port of Hamburg and subsequently ripened them in former air raid shelters. This then gave rise to the later weekly market trade, with which the company is still involved today, Dirk Radack claims. In addition to the trade in bananas and other fruits, the company now also deals with French cheese and dairy products as well as fish. "This diversification of the product range is particularly important to us and has contributed fundamentally to our broad network at home and abroad," says Radack.
"Creating paths instead of taking them away"
This international network, as well as a love of fresh food, eventually gave rise to a completely new corporate division, Radack continues. "We are now devoting more time to marketing surpluses and reclamations at home and abroad. Through our years of experience as market shoppers, we have consistently gotten more produce than we could sell. True to the motto 'creating ways instead of getting rid of them', it is a matter close to our hearts to save these surpluses from the garbage can and to put them back into circulation instead. Certainly at times when topics such as sustainability and CO2 balancing are omnipresent, we are meeting today's zeitgeist with this initiative."
Ecology and economy
According to Radack, however, the Fred4Food label is not only in line with the current sustainability trend, but it is also intended to contribute to increased efficiency and ultimately increased profitability in the food industry. "Many retail companies, for example at the local wholesale market, simply lack the necessary time and manpower to take the accommodation of surpluses into their own hands. Through the distribution channels and capacities we have at our disposal, we are able to relieve the respective customer accordingly. Much of this goes to the local food bank, which is why our concept is also a win-win situation for all those involved in the supply chain in purely marketing terms."
Expansion potential exists
As a service provider in a growing market segment, Radack sees itself as a link between producers or traders and their respective buyers. "Across the board, there tends to be more produce in circulation than is actually needed. The more private labels with corresponding quality specifications come into play, the more headaches arise. You also have to add that disposing of food is ultimately more costly than putting it back into circulation." Among the buyers of the surplus are processors and resellers throughout Germany, for example, as well as in neighboring Central and Eastern European countries.
Entry-level price products increasingly coming to the fore
Furthermore, the current market situation is also clearly playing into the hands of the marketing of remnants, Radack describes. "This segment has suffered very badly from the ongoing price war in food retailing. Due to inflation and cost increases, prices are currently being pulled up sharply, which is why the post market has more room to maneuver and entry-level price products are increasingly coming into the consumer's focus."