Demand for classic gastronomy articles - including cresses - remains quite subdued due to the lockdowns. "In the week before Easter, we were able to sell nice volumes through food retailers and discounters, but after the holidays we are unfortunately seeing a decline in demand again - not least because of the cold snap," says Christian Gimperlein, joint managing director of Bio-Maintalkresse, based in Albertshofen, Franconia.
Due to the ongoing Corona crisis, only limited quantities are being marketed via wholesale markets and catering suppliers. "In general, sales are extremely volatile at this time of pandemic," says Gimperlein, who runs the specialized growing and trading operation with his father Elmar. "The consumer is very unsettled now, which is why there is an increasing lack of purchasing power in the retail sector, including in food retail. In addition, only our varieties - such as garden cress and cress mix - are taken in the supermarket, while the more specialized varieties are less in demand."
Bio-Maintalkresse offers seven different organic cress varieties
For the cress producer, the current situation is anything but easy, he says: "Paper and cardboard have become extremely scarce and expensive due to booming online trade and the resulting increase in demand. Added to this is the new CO2 tax regulation which came into force on 01.01.2021. Although we use waste heat, we still have to heat our crops additionally, which is why this legislation ultimately affects us as well. We don't see a significant price increase yet, but in the next few years we will inevitably have to charge more for our products."
The Gimperlein family produces and markets regional organic cresses
In keeping with the circumstances, Gimperlein says they want to refrain from making large investments for the time being. "It doesn't make sense now to invest in variety selection, cultivation technology or operating capacity if you don't know where the journey is headed. Last year we were short about 30 percent in total sales, and this year even more if there are no initial relaxations soon."