The marketing of domestic onions is now slowly picking up speed. "The clearing of early onions is progressing and we will start preparing packable produce for the local market in a few days. We are also facing the consequences of the ongoing drought. Despite intensive irrigation, we have to reckon with a 20-30 percent drop in the onion harvest," says Lüder Böhling, Managing Director and Member of the Board of Heide-Zwiebel AG.
Due to the tight supply situation, the price level is set high, Mr. Böhling continues. "We are currently at a price per kilo around 0.35-0.37 euros for the medium grade. The larger calibers (60-80) are trading even slightly higher. The important thing now is that demand remains high and stable, which is not a given in times of rising inflation and falling purchasing power. So far, however, it is mainly the high-priced products that are losing sales due to inflation; staple foods continue to be bought," says the onion merchant confidently.
Lüder Böhling is a member of the Board and Sales Manager at Heide-Zwiebel AG.
Red onions on the rise, difficult year for organic onions
In addition to the commercially available yellow onions grown in northern Germany, Heide-Zwiebel AG is also increasingly marketing red onions for consumption. Böhling: "The red onion tends to be grown more in our area. Except for no stocks, the regional product is now usually cleared in April, after which the trade is inevitably dependent on imports. So, in the coming years, we will try to close this supply gap of red onions as much as possible."
In addition, the joint stock company is also active as a service provider for the preparation of onions from organic cultivation. According to Mr. Böhling, this market segment seems to be stagnating somewhat.
"Organic products are experiencing a significant drop in sales right now. For onions, the effects of the weather are even more difficult to cope with. From a grower's perspective, you also always have to weigh whether you want to take the risks of a labor-intensive and costly crop." The latter is a common theme throughout onion production, according to Böhling. "We already have to expect that some growers will replace their onion acres with grain or other arable crops."
Focus on domestic market and existing customers
In addition to supplying domestic packers and wholesalers in partnership, Heide-Zwiebel AG is also concerned with exports to neighboring countries. "We have gained a good reputation in the Central European region, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, in recent years and are also striving to expand this mainstay. But in view of the drop in earnings we are facing this year, our focus is now on supplying the local market and existing customers in the European region."