The Clery variety seems to have become increasingly established in the German retail trade. "The demand for Clery is always extremely high, as it is characterized by an excellent taste as well as very good coloring," buyer and seller Granit Sumaj of Früchtewelt GmbH, an operation in the Munich market halls, tells us. He has been with the company for 16 years.
"At the moment, we offer strawberries from the Lake Constance region and produce from Baden. The season has started very well. Until now, the prices have been quite high, with the level slowly dropping. The demand was very good, which was also related to the lower supply quantity, as the weather made it difficult for strawberries to ripen."
In week 20, he said, they were able to sell about 70 pallets of 72 plates each containing 10 x 500-g trays. "We were also able to sell similar quantities in the three to four weeks beforehand. Our clientele ranges from Bavaria to Austria to Switzerland. We only ship asparagus to Italy."
According to Sumaj, the season started with a price of 3.50 EUR/kg. "Now we are around 2.20 to 2.30 EUR/kg on sale. Within a week, the price has dropped rapidly because the volumes have almost exploded due to the good weather. The qualities of the tunnel goods were relatively weak until the beginning of week 21, because they got a lot of rain. On the other hand, the quality of the greenhouse goods was all the better, with which we were able to achieve the highest sales. We offered the first greenhouse goods on March 20."
He said he knows from growers cooperating with the company that greenhouse space has been reduced in some cases because of heating, labor and other costs. "Customers are not willing to pay what growers would actually need."
'Homegrown goods free of competition'
The sale of Greek and Italian goods stopped earlier, after which the German offer immediately followed. "There is a difference of EUR 2.00 per bowl between the Italian and German goods. Although the German product is more expensive, we have had better sales with it than with the Italian product."
During the season, he said, they are free of competition with the German goods at the Munich wholesale market, at least as far as sales to retailers are concerned. "The supermarkets are usually more price-oriented and therefore also help themselves from Spain and Italy." The main customers of Früchtewelt GmbH are food retailers, weekly markets as well as bakeries.
'Wholesale tends to become more difficult'
"It is becoming more and more difficult to do wholesale every year. Specialists and businesses that have been in the industry for 20 to 30 are stopping more and more. On the one hand, there are political reasons for this, such as the fact that advance tax payments and additional payments are only passed on to the small companies, while larger companies can operate almost unmolested. Furthermore, there is often a lack of both successors and personnel. Not only have wage and rent costs increased, but so have taxes and other costs."