In recent years, the German convenience sector is growing and flourishing at a rapid pace. From the traditional salads and peeled raw materials (potatoes, carrots, onions), the national market is increasingly turning towards ready meals, delicatessen and fine menus. As a result, there are new opportunities in the fresh trade for ambitious, innovation-ready companies. "In our delivery area, sales are growing steadily. The symbiosis of the situation in the labor market and the quality of our convenience products are the initiators of this process," explains Bernd Thalmann, Managing Director of KÖHRA - Frische.
The Saxon trading company is one of the pioneers of the German pre-cut industry. "Kartoffelmeister Köhra" was founded in 1991, coming from the initial potato peeling business, creating the basis for the pre-cut products. Furthermore, since 2005 a manufactory-type production company for special convenience products in Berlin (Köhra Gourmet) belongs to the KÖHRA-Group. Delicatessen, antipasti, juices and much more are freshly produced in Berlin and very well received by the upscale gastronomy and hotel industry. In addition, the Agrar Frisch GmbH in Wendelstorf has been part of the KÖHRA Group since 2006. And there are still growth opportunities in this area, it is said.
Left: Bernd Thalmann, Managing Director of KÖHRA - Frische / Image: Alex Weingarten - Right: The company production site.
"We have established ourselves as a fixed supply partner in the fresh market of convenience products, produce without additives requiring declaration and the demand is increasing steadily - also due to the current challenges on the job market. Thanks to Köhra Gourmet's selection of products, KÖHRA - Frische and Agrar Frisch have the opportunity to offer their customers a greater variety of fresh convenience items," explains Thalmann.
View of the company headquarters in Köhra, Saxony.
Regionality as a trademark
In the pre-cut sector, the importance of regionality as a purchasing argument for the end-user is increasing as well, he says. KÖHRA - Frische is reacting actively to this social trend: "We support our regional suppliers and cooperate with many small growers and of course we want to aid them serving the market." Even traditional products are processed true to the motto "We are growing as assignments are!" It was clear to us quite early that even a normal leafy salad can be of high quality and unique. Of course, the assortment grows through customer requests."
Left: Zoodles of the company KÖHRA - Frische GmbH
Right: Salad with ginger and orange sauce from Köhra Gourmet Image: Karl Mischke
In addition, the company has been BIO-certified since 2005, so that it is also officially authorized to produce organic products. Due to the constant restructuring in terms of operations, transport and networks, the company now has this challenging product segment under control. Thalmann: "We master the challenges with well-organized purchasing and a delimited production line so that we can fully meet the demand for organic products."
Proximity to big cities
In the meantime, KÖHRA - Frische is one of the largest suppliers of fresh produce in East Germany. The proximity of KÖHRA to Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz and Halle, to Köhra Gourmet in Berlin and to Agrar Frisch in Rostock and Hamburg plays a major role. "With our company-owned vehicle fleet and our continuous supply capability, we are in a position to serve regional end customers in the large consumer sector (hotels, restaurants, canteens, canteens, etc.) directly on a daily basis. Thanks to our CF Gastro trader network, we also have the opportunity to work nationwide."