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Stephan Weist, REWE:

Retailers also need co-financing for fruit promotion

Last week during the European Freshfel Policy Meeting Stephan West, from REWE, spoke about why retailers can't do anything with their extra fruit volumes right now. "Concentration of the market in many European markets has resulted in close relations between growers and service providers, and also between growers and retailers," he began.

What can the retail sector do?
"The fruit and vegetable sector has fluctuations in supply and demand that are mainly caused by the weather. Currently the boycott in Russia is causing problems. There is too much fruit on the European market. Why can we not offset or reduce these additional volumes as retailers? This is because you help your partners (our own growers) first, and they are already producing faster than the market is growing. We can use your marketing instruments and play with promotions, packaging, prices and in store activities. But first we will help our growers, everything else comes after."

"The approach that the EU is taking is a good approach," he says. "We can help sell more of the existing fruit, but it is very difficult to control the supply side. The best way to solve this problem is to approach it from both sides, as is being done. Regulating the supply can help the countries and the suppliers, even if one market is closed. If the price of onions decreases the effect is not as high as it would be if the price of apples were to decrease. You can generate more momentum with the final product."

"In any case, it is important to increase consumption. We are happy that the EU is considering co-financing promotional activities. If we organize a promotional or sampling activity it costs a lot of money. For example, two weeks ago we held an activity in which we gave out 150 tons of free apples to children. We promoted this through tv and newspapers and it cost us approximately 400,000 Euro. Neither us, nor our suppliers or cooperatives, can ask for co-financing here. We believe that organizing these promotional activities is hardly efficient. What would increase consumption throughout the entire chain, and be a better use of our time, would be to find a more efficient way that better reflects the current market situation."


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