In the far south of Germany, on the island of Reichenau, locally-grown vegetables are currently harvested in large quantities. Bernd Jäger, owner of the same name wholesale, which offers the Reichenau products on the open market: "Cucumbers are cheap, but tomatoes are in the high-priced segment and are on average about 2 euros per box more expensive than last year."
Overall, the sales currently are somewhat quieter throughout the holidays, but they are "acceptable," adds the second generation manager of the wholesale company that was founded in 1978.
High value of Reichenau goods
The importance of regional Reichenau vegetables is still very high, confirms Jäger, who supplies both regional retail outlets as well as large-scale consumers and restaurants. "Within food retailing, regionality is already an issue and hardly any imported products are being positioned there within the season." All in all, the retailer sees some interesting tendencies in the vegetable trade. "The Reichenau cooperative always tries to expand the existing assortment, which is why standard products - such as broccoli and cauliflower - are marginalized. The acreage for greenhouse products - primarily tomatoes and cucumbers in all variations - will continue to expand."
Less interest in FreshCut and organic products
Another investment by Gärtnersiedlung Reichenau is evident in the organic segment; Recently, managing director Johannes Bliestle confirmed that already one-third of the total sales are generated by organic vegetables. For the open market, this development is rather less important, comments Jäger. "Organic vegetables will go more often to food retailers. For us, they remain a marginal product. The organic scene does not appeal to me." Also, FreshCut wares did not inspire the trader:" Although we do offer them for over a year the demand has been less and less."
"Buy regionally and think of the environment"
Despite the challenges in the trade, family-owned company Jäger GmbH is still experiencing steady growth in the market, even after a good 40 years. "Unlike in the past, you have to be able to offer unusual things, such as mini-Romana and all tomato varieties. Although these can be sold within the catering industry, I still see the greatest potential for the conventional standard varieties." Finally, Jäger has a recommendation for all stakeholders in the fresh industry: "Buys regional and think of the environment. That means less packaging is better. Fortunately, I see a positive development here, because the industry is already moving towards reusable crates."