For GO-fresh Ltd, 2022 was an exciting year overall: The first quarter was still characterized by the after-effects of the Corona crisis, after which the company was confronted with considerable additional costs in terms of packaging, logistics and manpower in the second half of the year. Thanks to the takeover of Rüther Fresh Food in Erkelenz on October 1, 2022, nevertheless closed on a positive note, Stephan Junkers, Managing Director of the Geilenkirchen-based company, sums up.
At the moment, the marketing of Freshcut products is proceeding on a relatively quiet track. "As is usual for the season, January is traditionally somewhat weaker. But more worrying is the procurement situation. Due to the energy crisis, we will have less fruit vegetables available from the Dutch greenhouses. There will also be less volume in Spain due to the weather, so we will have to expect shortages at some point during the season. The same applies to melons, which according to current information will be planted less. In short, 2023 will also be a reasonably difficult year on the procurement side."
Supply expansion and differentiation
For ten years now, GO-fresh has been primarily dedicated to the processing and distribution of high-quality freshcut products for the food service industry and airports. A significant part of the raw material is cut by hand and processed individually according to customer requirements. Through the acquisition of the company Rüther to 01.10.2022, the range of products could be significantly expanded, says Junkers. "In the fruit sector, we have always operated on two tracks and supply both hand and machine-processed products. When it comes to vegetables, on the other hand, we have mainly focused on fine cutting as a manufactory. Thanks to the acquisition and capacity expansion, we can now supply more coarser cut products, such as carrots and cabbage vegetables, and thus offer the complete range of a wide variety of freshcut items."
Proximity to the headquarters in Geilenkirchen also played a key role, he said. "We are aiming to expand the premises in 2024 and will then close the Erkelenz plant and integrate it into the expanded hall. In view of the shortage of skilled workers, which we are also facing, it is particularly important to us that we can also relocate the staff here," the convenience provider explains.
Outsourcing the cold kitchen
According to Junkers, staff shortages in the restaurant industry have also worsened in the wake of the Corona crisis. "Many foodservice operations have had to cut back on their staff during the pandemic, which is why people are now missing on all fronts. The remaining staff are being deployed as efficiently as possible, which in turn will contribute to the increased demand for convenience. Flycatering has recovered well and is now running at around 70-75 percent of pre-Corona levels. We are also seeing increased outsourcing of cold cuisine (mise en place) in this segment."
In this context, Junckers again points to the difficult sourcing of raw materials. "We have had to struggle fully in particular with overseas products due to ship delays. However, the customer usually shows understanding in this regard as long as we offer him appropriate alternative products. Spanish Tomberries were hardly available to us for a short time due to the precipitation, and there were similar problems with mini zucchini. As a result of this procurement problem, contact with the buyer has undoubtedly become closer."
For more information:
Obst- und Gemüsemanufaktur
DE - 52511 Geilenkirchen
T + 49 2451 90722 - 18
F + 49 2451 90722 – 29