Between December and March, the Essen-based wholesaler Maxime Ltd obtains around 90 percent of its apples from neighboring Belgium. The entire range of apples from Belgian cultivation is offered, according to managing director Sükrü Karahan, who also stocks Italian (such as Gala) and French (Pink Lady) apples. "Normally, Belgian apples are a lucrative product mainstay at this time of year. However, due to the current surpluses, prices are at a low level, which is why this business is also hardly profitable at the moment."
Sükrü Karahan (l) and a colleague at the Maxime stand in the Essen Frischezentrum.
In addition to pome fruits, the Essen-based fruit wholesaler also imports fruit vegetables from Belgium and the Netherlands. The basic assortment includes cucumbers and eggplants. Karahan: "Due to the high energy prices, many Belgian and Dutch greenhouse operations have stopped production, and some have even ceased operations completely." The pandemic and subsequent energy crisis have left deep scars throughout the supply chain, he notes. "My customers, meaning specialty retailers and independent supermarkets, also suffered hard and are still suffering. Online retailers and delivery services are also giving us a hard time in this regard."
A look at Maxime's tomato range.
As a result, the wholesaler has decided to extensively expand its product range. In addition to fruit and vegetables, he now increasingly offers frozen food, dairy products and dry goods. "About 50 percent of our sales are fruit and vegetables, and the trend is downward," he says. Given the circumstances, he also looks to the future with concern. "If this continues with energy prices and climate change, it will have disastrous consequences for the entire industry. EU authorities also need to think about how to support producers in all countries so that there will be cheap food for everyone in the future." In this context, Karahan points to the short-lived export ban on Turkish tomatoes in week 10. "This stop only lasted a few days, but prices immediately went through the roof."
Learn more about the Essen Frischezentrum? Click here for the photo's of our March 2023 wholesale market visit.
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Maxime Großhandel GmbH
+49 201 43666717