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Peter Hein, Bayrische Pilzbörse GmbH:

"Sprouts are very popular as superfoods right now in summer"

Sprouts have gradually become established in the trade in recent years. Especially in the warm season, these greens are quite popular with restaurateurs and specialty retailers. In addition to the tried-and-tested standard varieties, new varieties are increasingly finding their way to regional consumers, says Peter Hein, Managing Director of the Bavarian mushroom exchange.

In terms of quantity, soya sprouts are still the most important variation. The reason is that this variety is mainly distributed in large containers (5 & 10 kg), emphasizes Mr. Hein. "This variety has established itself well over the years, especially among Asian cuisines in the Munich area. On the other hand, the remaining varieties are taken everywhere: We stock a lot of gastronomy suppliers, who pick up the goods here at the wholesale market. Thus, our sprouts end up in southern Bavaria as well as across the border, in Austria."

Organic sprouts are often used in salads.

The wholesaler, based at the wholesale market in Munich, has been marketing regional sprouts from the exclusive growers' business for more than 10 years and was a pioneer in this distinctive product segment at that time. "The grower approached us and was looking for someone to maintain the cold chain, as the temperature in the sprouts - similar to mushrooms - should be kept between 2 and 7 degrees. This is certainly a challenge in today's weather conditions," Hein comments.

The sprouts are currently available in 13 variations. "We also thought about including cress in the assortment, but we refrained from doing so. We will definitely stick to mushrooms and sprouts as our two specialties," says Hein.

Variety and marketing
At that time, the variety scale contained three variations, but nowadays the complete assortment of the Bavarian mushroom exchange amounts to 13 flavors. Radish, onion and wasabi sprouts, as well as the latest beetroot variety, are currently enjoying good approval. "We find that the sprouts are very popular as superfoods right now in summer. We also have the advantage of being able to offer them all year round."

The classic high season nevertheless starts in late May-early June and runs into October. There are hardly any bottlenecks or supply gaps, says Mr. Hein: "Our core supplier has 100% control of the process and has invested a great deal in cultivation technology. In addition to this, the growing conditions in Bavaria are particularly good for the sprouts." Regarding marketing, all important factors are present as well. "Bio and regionalism are important topics for the consumer here in the south, and we are benefiting from the marketing of sprouts - we are still the largest supplier in Munich these days," adds the proud trader.

Optimal packaging solution wanted
On the part of the dealer, the product packaging is currently a sensitive issue, it is confirmed. "We are already trying to find new, sustainable solutions, but because of the moisture of the sprouts, we are quite difficult." Just as with mushrooms, the challenge is to find an environmentally optimal solution, without compromising the durability of the product suffers. "We've already tried to use cardboard and 20 percent plastic hybrid shells. Also wood pulp shells have not been able to finally prevail in the trade. Unfortunately, we have not found an optimal solution yet."

For more information:
Bayrische Pilzbörse GmbH
Inh. Peter Hein
Großmarkt München
Schäftlarnstr. 10
Halle 2 Stand 47/48
Tel : +49 (0)89 746656-33 -34  

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