Overall, 2017 proved to be challenging for the families of growers. After a relatively cold winter, both temperatures and lighting conditions were well below the long-term averages during the months of April and May, resulting in a smaller harvest. Sales remained stable throughout the remainder of the season, but could not be increased by very much. Under these conditions, the LGV growers harvested about 34,500 tonnes of vegetables by the end of October, generating sales of just over 60 million euros. The low price levels across Europe led to a slight decline in sales compared to early spring this year.
LGV Board member Florian Bell. Photo: LGV, Kurt Kracher
Strengthening the ‘LGV-Frischgemüse’ brand and direct communication with consumers
LGV board member Florian Bell gave us a positive summary of the past season: "2017 was a transformational year for the LGV. There have been great developments in the strategic direction and leadership of the companies.” Regarding the big positioning project ‘LGV 2016-2020’ -launched in the middle of last year- according to Bell the main focus is on strengthening the brand name and opening communications with end consumers: "We successfully took the first big step in June when we opened the first LGV Grower Store in Vienna."
LGV-Grower Store as a meeting place
Since then, the shop in the 4th district has become a meeting place and innovation hub: "More than ever before we have direct, personal contacts with our customers there. This will enable us to respond to their needs and thus develop new products for the future." The success of this concept becomes clear through its gratifying sales performance -six-figure sales were already generated in the first half of the year- and the nomination for the State PR Prize in the category ‘Corporate’.
Linking ‘online’ and ‘on the spot’
The direct customer business is to be further developed in the coming year as well. In the coming spring, the Grower Store will be operationally merged with LGV-Grower’s Crates, which was introduced several years ago. Customers can continue to order fresh vegetables online as usual and receive their products the very next day throughout all of Austria. The processing of orders is handled by the Grower Store. The assortment is supplemented by daily necessities such as pasta, jam, juices or cereals as well as fresh products such as cheese or yoghurt.
Growth strategy: customer focus, innovation & membership growth
For the coming year, the focus will again be on growth. "We want to become even more attractive for our trading partners and at the point of sale," said Bell. New sales manager Thomas Hudribusch, brought on board by Bell, will be one of the people responsible for this. Furthermore, more potential member firms will be approached ‘with a strong brand position and an attractive overall offer’. Among other things, a packaging relaunch is planned, whereby the core competencies of the LGV-Frischgemüse will be focused more towards the consumers. These core competencies are the regional nature of the products and the individual families of growers behind those products.
Source: ots/LGV Frischgemüse