Surprising retail concepts in Dutch-German border region AGF Trend Cafe:

The Dutch-German border region, with its growing areas of North Limburg and Niederrhein as well as Fresh Park Venlo, has long played a prominent role in bilateral agri-business. But what about retail in the border region? The AGF Trend Café took a look at three retail markets on 21 March: Beej Benders and Zwei Brüder in Venlo and Edeka Zurheide in Düsseldorf city centre.

Click here for the photo report of the AGF Trend Café.

Click here for the photo report of Edeka Zurheide in Düsseldorf-Centre (German).

The programme kicked off at food market Beej Benders in the centre of Venlo. The formula consists of an extensive range, with a clear focus on fresh and regional products. Next to the fresh market is a restaurant, which also focuses on local products. In the fresh produce area, a clear choice has been made for "experience": consumers enter "De Venlo Kas" where a wide range awaits them, presented as a weekly market. Rounding off the offer is an orange press and the necessary convenience products.

The company then headed to Zwei Brüder, opposite, which with two branches in Venlo and Siebengewald has long been a household name among German border tourists. For over 60 years, the formula has stood the test of time and, under the motto "A lot for little", mainly groceries (tea, coffee, sweets, etc.) are offered in volume packs. Fresh produce only plays a modest role at the Venlo discounter, nevertheless the range of products on offer, with numerous contemporary convenience products, is very good.

The group then crossed the border for the highlight of the afternoon: a visit to Edeka Zurheide in Düsseldorf city centre. With a population of around 10 million citizens, the Ruhr region has been one of the most densely populated areas in Germany and Western Europe for decades. This diversity is clearly reflected in the retail offer, with Edeka Zurheide clearly belonging to the premium segment. With a total of six markets, the Zurheide formula can be counted among Edeka's flagship stores. The emphasis here is on high-quality products and experience: countless products are freshly prepared and can be sampled on the spot.

The fresh produce department is significantly larger than in regular Edeka stores and has a somewhat "un-German" feel, with a wide convenience range including fresh salads, smoothies and meals. What immediately stands out is the variety of greenhouse vegetables, especially tomatoes, and exotics, mostly sourced through Dutch suppliers. In addition, regional and organic dominate: numerous premium products from organic cultivation are offered under the Naturkind product line, for example. Another characteristic feature of Edeka is the emphasis on regional cultivation and the family farms that are often behind it. Not infrequently, the grower is portrayed with a photo and a short text on the product packaging.

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