The European stone fruit campaign is slowly but surely drawing to a close, and the same is true of the melon campaign in the northern hemisphere. "Due to the persistently high temperatures, sales of watermelons went through the roof this year. After weeks of unchanged high sales, we are now observing a slight drop in demand for the first time due to the current rainfall," says Emre Can Allak, Managing Director of Leko Import Ltd, based at the Hannover wholesale market.
"We usually start the season with Moroccan watermelons. Then we continue with Italian and Greek batches, which we offer in parallel. Finally, we offered Turkish goods, but by and large the season is now over," Allak says.
Deniz and Emre Can Allak of Leko Import
The last shipments of stone fruits are now arriving at the wholesale market, Allak continues. "At the local wholesale market, we are the exclusive suppliers of Perusi brand Italian stone fruits from Verona. We're looking back on a good stone fruit season, as supply and demand generally meshed well."
Turkish exotics on the rise
In addition to stone fruit and melons, exotics from around the world are continuously well received, Allak observes. "At the moment, for example, we are carrying fresh dates from Jordan in our assortment and the demand is gratifying. Dried goods are nevertheless the most in demand; they have been able to hold their own as a year-round item over the years. We are also offering more Turkish exotics this year, such as guava, mangoes and pitahaya. The consumer needs to be educated a little here, but as niche items I still see interesting opportunities for this category of goods."
Leko Import was founded in 1986; it is part of the Marmara group of companies with locations in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Hanover. The latter is establishing itself as a full-range supplier of fruit and vegetables. Allak: "We supply both the specialist retail trade, such as ethnic supermarkets, and the catering trade, which has proved particularly advantageous during the pandemic. In those two years, we had to accept big losses in the gastronomy sector, but we were able to generate more sales in the retail sector."
'Essential' function of the wholesale market
The wholesale market company believes it is well equipped for the future. "The wholesale market is essential for the supply of fresh produce to the classic wholesale clientele and, in my opinion, will continue to exist in the coming decades. Nevertheless, we too will have to contend with the current adversities, such as increased transport costs. I think we still have a ways to go."