"In the past season, chicory sales have returned to pre-Corona levels," says Fabian Etter of Gamper & Co. Gemüsekulturen, one of the leading chicory producers and marketers in Switzerland. "After the above-average root crop in 2021, we had a moderate root yield last fall. However, we struggled qualitatively due to high disease infestation, which is why yields were ultimately rather below average in our driveries. As a result, most of the driveries also finished a little earlier than usual this year."
Chicory Processing: Gamper operates one conventional one organic forcing plant.
From May 1 to October 31, imported products are also offered in Switzerland, which is why the domestic product also has to be offered at a significantly lower price in the summer. In general, July and August are the weaker sales months. Organic chicory will still be offered until the end of the month. A total of three conventional foragers will continue to produce in the summer. Etter: "Summer sales are completely weather dependent. May was wet and cold which was quite beneficial for chicory sales. Accordingly, we have not yet observed any decline in demand. The root stock is just barely sufficient to catch up with the new harvest."
Fabian Etter is responsible for sales of conventional and organic chicory.
Organic chicory on the rise
Since fall 2016, the Gamper company has also been producing chicory according to organic guidelines for food retailers throughout Switzerland. According to Etter, demand for organic chicory has increased significantly in recent years. "Inflation has naturally slowed down the growth of organic sales this year. However, there is no talk of a volume slump. On the contrary, organic sales have been maintained this year." He added that marketing of the conventional product has also been extremely stable for several years - no decline or increase has been observed - although the Swiss market as a whole is fairly saturated.
Packaged chicory is mainly marketed in 500g flowpacks under the joint market identity 'Swiss&Diva'. In the past season, there has been a proportionate increase in small-caliber sprouts.
Given that Gamper relies exclusively on domestic chicory roots, the development of root production will be a crucial factor in the coming years, Etter describes. "Root production is tending to become more difficult due in part to restrictions on approved plant protection products in Switzerland. Complicating matters this year are the omnipresent cost increases in vegetable production. The challenge will lie above all in finding new producers and investing in them so that root cultivation remains attractive despite the more difficult conditions."
Sprouted chicory shoots just before the harvest.
For more information:
Gamper & Co. Gemüsekulturen
Tel. +41 52 376 12 57