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NRW Retail & Food Tour photo report

Opportunities in German retail: Convenience and one person packaging

Convenience and one person packaging are growing points for the German retail. This became clear during the NRW Retail & Food Trend Tour, organised last week by the German Desk Fruit and Vegetable House lead by Jochem Wolthuis. Regionality is also an important point, but it remains difficult to realise a higher price for this.

The NRW Retail & Food Trend Tour took place in the region Rhein-Kreis Neuss, and was organised in collaboration with this region, located just under Dusseldorf and close to Cologne. 445,000 people live in the region and the Neuss port turned over 189 tonnes in 2012, of which 20% food. The expectation is that this will rise to 280-350 tonnes in 2030. The region is traditionally active in the food sector. This is shown in the presence of companies such as Haribo, Yault, Matsu Foods, Brata and Diamant.

E-centre Edeka has one of the most successful fruit and vegetable department in Edeka stores. 

Later this week the individual reports of the visited German retailer will follow: Edeka, Metro, REWE, organic supermarket Temma, Globus en Aldi. What is clear is that the same thing is going on. Germany is still taking baby steps as far as convenience and one person packaging is concerned. However, regional produce does get a lot of attention. But stories from greenhouse growers Pieter van Gog (Wittenberg Gemuse) and Carsten Knodt (Neurather Gärtner) show that it remains difficult to realise a structurally higher price for it. Knodt believes this is needed - the harvest yields in the greenhouses are lower and the construction costs are higher, and Co2 also usually has to be bought.

Companies from the whole fruit and vegetable sector partook in the tour: Marjan de Boer and Alex Vos of Banken Champignons Melvin van der Zeyden of YEX, Hans van der Stok of Green Organics, Jan Zegwaard of Greenco, Jacques Luteijn of Growers Packers Direct, Ivo Luijckx of JASA Packaging Systems, Ivo Hendriks of Perfotec and Patrick van Schetsen of Purple Pride. The tour was organised by Jochem Wolthuis and lead by Peter Bungenberg. Esther Tromp-Koppes, of the Dutch embassy in Berlin, joined the tour. 

During the tour not only their own sector was viewed, but also outside of it. At 3M for example. The worldwide operating technology company is known for Post-it, sand paper and various kinds of tape. The company has over 50,000 different products and 25,000 patents. 3M had a turnover of over 30 billion dollars in 2013, 22 billion Euro. What is striking about the company is the clear goal they have set themselves: solving problems. The company has set up a special campaign for this. It sounds very wide, but by marking out the areas in which they are active, it ensures positioning. This is done in collaboration with companies like McCain, McDonalds, Kraft Foods, Heineken. "We aren't the cheapest, but we guarantee security," explains Mathias Boldt.

A second visit outside the sector was a visit to the Walter Rau Neusser Öl und Fett. The company supplies their product to McDonalds, among others. According to Bernd Brinkmann Walter Rau is a relatively small processor. Due to the flexibility and the sustainability carried through the company, they can supply this type of customer and keep them. To realise sustainable company policy, attention has to be given to the economy, ecology, health and society. After the presentation the safety suits were put on and the tour was given an extensive view of the factory.

Handy: with an exotic knower at Metro

The last trip outside the sector was at the factory sales of Haribo. A quick stop - but certainly good to see what other companies, especially the sweets industry, want to convey. Something to learn from.

The tour was supplemented by presentations by Nils Renner of advertising agency 744 - about how to position your brand in Germany. Peter Bungenberg spoke about the ins and outs of the German retail. Ute-Bärbel Rangnick spoke about the possibilities of the Agrologistics Support Centre. The platform supports companies by realising border crossing collaborations.

Antje Hambitzer spoke about the still to be set up project for getting rid of waste. With European subsidies for regional products, INTERREG IV, she is looking for different uses for the waste from greenhouse cultivation other than bio gas in the project Taste the Waste.

View the photo report here.

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