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Abdessalem Najar of Zündorf & Zerres GmbH Cologne:

"Due to rapid growth in domestic herbs, we can now completely dispense with flown-in goods"

While the European stone fruit campaign is now rapidly picking up speed despite the weather caprices, exotic imports are seasonally declining. "Last year we had an extremely long stone fruit season, with high-quality batches from Greece and Turkey available to us right into September. Among other things, the Turkish ice peach, a new variety grown in Turkey, did very well with our food retail customers," says Abdessalem Najar, wholesaler at the Cologne wholesale market and managing director of Zündorf & Zerres GmbH, which is based there.

After the European stone fruit campaign was completed, there were then plums, nectarines, peaches and co from several countries of origin such as Chile, Argentina and South Africa. "The quality of the overseas stone fruits did not meet our customers' requirements, so demand was relatively manageable. Accordingly, we withdrew completely immediately after the start of the season," says Najar, who has now been offering the full range of European stone fruits for about three weeks.

High demand for Egyptian juice oranges
In addition to stone fruit, the marketing of citrus continues steadily, the fruit wholesaler continues. "We started by offering mainly Portuguese citrus, then moved on to Spain and Morocco, and for the past month or so, Egyptian Valencia juice oranges have predominated our citrus range. Demand is high and availability is continuous. Prices are about ten percent above last year's level. Unlike other years, there is now a lack of orange imports from Zimbabwe, but soon there will certainly be South African batches."

Domestic herbs replace imported goods
Until a year and a half ago, Zündorf & Zerres GmbH was also considered the place to go for kitchen herbs from all over the world. Says Najar, "Prices for flown goods are very high and there tends to be less need for imported herbs as domestic cultivation is rapidly gaining ground. In the past decade, we've been able to expand our supplier network to include some regional herb producers, so we now completely eliminate imported goods."

Managing Director Abdessalem Najar at the sales stand during FreshPlaza's 2019 wholesale market visit.

Closure of wholesale market almost inevitable
In the wake of the latest negotiations between the community of interests of the Cologne wholesale market and the city administration, the mood in the market hall is rather clouded, he said. "No one really knows where the journey is going. Personally, I expect the wholesale market to close for good by the end of 2025. We are also already trying to look for a location elsewhere so that we can continue our stable operation. Supplying owner-operated retail stores in particular has rapidly gained in importance in recent years," concludes Najar.

Further information:
Abdessalem Najar
Zündorf & Zerres GmbH
Marktstraße 10
50968 Cologne
Fon: (+49) 0221 38 12 95
Fax: (+49) 030 16 87 83 12

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