With around 430 exhibitors from 12 countries and numerous visitors from all over the world, the organizers of the expoSE/expoDirekt trade fair duo can look back on two successful trade fair days in Karlsruhe. Although the willingness to innovate and invest in the asparagus and strawberry industry continues to decline due to inflation, cost increases, and other challenges, the 27th expoSE & 12th expoDirekt once again attracted many trade visitors from near and far to Karlsruhe. Visitors came not only from neighboring countries and Southern Europe but also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the Baltic states, as well as some from countries such as Kazakhstan, Canada, and Peru.

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Due to the numerous crises in recent years, the asparagus and berry sector has clearly had a tough few years. This is also reflected in growers' willingness to invest. Exhibitors were almost unanimous in confirming that fewer investments were being made than a few years ago. This, in turn, means that suppliers to the industry must also adapt to the situation and offer more cost-effective solutions, be it machines, packaging, or other accessories.

Automation and packaging
With rising minimum wages, the consequences of climate change, and other challenges such as the upcoming toll increase, 2024 will be another exciting year. "Everyone is afraid of the coming season," said one exhibitor, summarising the situation. Nevertheless, the sector seems ready to face the challenges. A lot is currently happening, particularly in the area of automation of harvest and fieldwork. The aim is to manage the high labor costs while guaranteeing high net yields and quality.

The wheel is not standing still in the area of packaging either. On the contrary, new packaging concepts, both plastic and paper/cardboard, cellulose or cotton, are still being launched on the market, but not to the same extent as a few years ago. The increasing avoidance of plastic in the European food retail sector plays a key role in this. Nevertheless, plastic or hybrid packaging is still in demand for reasons of cost or hygiene.

VSSE board spokesman and main organizer of the trade fair duo, Simon Schumacher, at the VSSE stand in Hall 1.

Variety breeding
Another focus of the trade fair duo is traditionally on variety breeding. Many growers and plant propagators took the opportunity to present new asparagus and strawberry varieties. Limgroup launched its new asparagus variety, Mosalim, on the very first day of the trade fair (FreshPlaza.de reported). Bejo now also has a promising variety for the late season with its new Sirius variety. Enza, on the other hand, is focussing more on the early segment with its Daleza variety. In the strawberry sector, the new variety Ravellia from Fresh Forward is already showing good results.

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