The Italian vegetable season is off to a difficult start. "The Dutch weather is actually still too good. We need a few nights of frost, then we can start loading," says Wijnand de Mooij of a fresh produce wholesaler in Rotterdam with the same name. "The current supply of, particularly, baby leaf, is still too large. Fennel, radish, and kohlrabi supplies are as good as exhausted in the Netherlands. We've been importing spinach for a while now. Our Italian suppliers would like to switch. They, too, are missing the sales to their hospitality industry clients."
The second hospitality lockdown is significantly affecting De Mooij too. "We're 30% less busy, and I don't see that improving until the end of the year. However, businesses in the hospitality industry are adjusting faster than in the first lockdown in March. Then, the initial shock was great. Sales dropped by 40% for eight weeks. Many markets were closed at the time. The businesses are now geared to this and switch to take-aways more quickly."
Yet, according to the wholesaler, it's not all doom and gloom. "Turkish stores, for example, started selling considerably more in the spring. Those customers keep coming back more often now. From May to the summer vacations, we at least ran at 100% again," Martijn says. "That was very much needed, too, to catch up. That explosive trade is now over. People know hoarding isn't necessary and are more comfortable with the situation. The sales of certain products are benefitting from more people cooking at home."
"This market is creating other opportunities. That's why we've invested in our fleet with a new large Volvo rigid. We have one of these already. We also got a small Iveco rigid to provide an improved service. And, if possible, we want to do home deliveries. More and more clients are working long hours. That's why we want we want to offer this delivery service. We want to provide an even better service," concludes Wijnand.