With the arrival of the first Mauritanian watermelons and Spanish strawberries, the spring campaign is ready to get underway at Herner Gastro Service Ltd. "Due to the rainy weather, demand for early watermelons is currently still restrained. We therefore hope that the weather will now become a little more spring-like and marketing will pick up a little more speed," says Kenan Kilia, buyer and seller of the company, which was founded in 2013.
While the first messengers of spring are gradually hitting the market, citrus fruits from the northern hemisphere are gradually disappearing. "The last oranges from Greece and Portugal are now arriving with us. Although Greek citrus is generally losing importance, we can look back on a good marketing season with pleasing qualities. Throughout the season, we were able to purchase five to ten pallets a week and sell them at stable sales prices. Portuguese oranges are also enjoying a steady, high demand, which is again due to the large calibers. At the moment, we are offering the Lane Late orange variety, which will be out in about two to three weeks," says Kilia.
Portuguese oranges of the late Lane Late variety.
Distribution of Italian imported apples
In addition to the classic seasonal items, HGS Ltd has been involved in the distribution of Italian imported apples on an agency basis for several years. Kilia: "This line of business came about by chance through a friend of mine. In short, we act as an import agency for apples from South Tyrol as well as Piedmont, which we distribute directly to selected partners at several German wholesale markets, without the goods having to be temporarily stored here. Basically, this is a year-round business, although the high season is clearly concentrated in the period between October and March/April. Overall, the business has developed quite strongly within a few years and we are committed to further exploiting the existing growth potential."
Restructuring the company
Founded in 2013, the company devoted most of its early years to supplying regional restaurants and hotels. After the outbreak of Covid-19, the Herne-based catering supplier also suffered severe sales losses, Kilia said. "We then made a virtue out of necessity and shifted our focus from catering supplies to supplying independent supermarkets," he said. This restructuring of our business has worked well and is still working after the pandemic."
Buyer and seller Kenan Kilia shows imported Italian apples of the Red Delicious variety.
The company benefits from the proximity of the regional wholesale markets in the Rhine-Ruhr region, Kilia continues. "Special items - whether asparagus, honey tomatoes, overseas melons or peeled potatoes - we purchase via the wholesale markets in Essen or Dortmund. So when a customer comes to us and needs unusual products, we can act quickly. In addition, we also actively exchange information with our neighbors at Selin Frucht Ltd. For example, we purchase Turkish goods from their established private label Baykal. We want to continue to grow together and acquire a new, joint site in the future."
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HGS - Herner Gastro Service GmbH