At Pfalzmarkt eG in Mutterstadt, one of Europe's largest and most modern marketing centers for fresh fruit and vegetables is now rapidly taking shape. With this building project, Pfalzmarkt eG is right on schedule. The company is investing around 30 million euros for the completion of the new marketing hall (as the first stage of the expansion), which will probably be by the end of 2021. The new building project is being constructed on a 15-hectare extension area in a convenient location, in close proximity to where the Pfalzmarkt joins the Mutterstadt freeway.
After the official ground-breaking ceremony yesterday morning, board members Reinhard Oerthert, Hans-Jörg Friedrich and supervisory board chairman Christian Deyerling answered our questions.
At work, from left to right: Adrian Blank, responsible for project control at Drees & Sommer, Mannheim, Mike Bollongino, architect, Hans-Jörg Friedrich and Reinhard Oerther, board members, Christian Deyerling, chairman of the supervisory board, Andreas Renner, chairman of the advisory board at Pfalzmarkt eG and Hans-Dieter Schneider, mayor of Mutterstadt. (Photo: Pfalzmarkt eG)
New ultra-fast fresh produce logistics brings "Germany's Fruit and Vegetable Garden" even closer to the retail trade
Pfalzmarkt eG will set new standards in the market with a further significantly optimized and ultra-fast fresh food logistics system. Since the Palatinate -the "vegetable garden of Germany" - traditionally offers the best conditions for natural growth, fresh produce can be harvested and marketed up to four weeks earlier than elsewhere.
The location for this expansion is perfect: "Thanks to our exclusive location on the outskirts of the town, without immediate neighbors and with our own highway exit at the Mutterstadt interchange, we already have an almost ideal location". This means that there are fewer opponents to the project than elsewhere.
But the existing buildings are also to continue to be used after the opening of the new building at the end of next year, we are told: "Before the new center starts operations, we will again provide detailed information on the concrete use of the existing capacities."
Thanks to the expertise of the medium-sized producers and the possibility of area-wide irrigation, Germany's largest contiguous vegetable growing area is already scoring points with its food retail partners. Reinhard Oerther, the Pfalzmarkt board member responsible for sales, says: "By expanding the site, we are creating the conditions for a fresh produce and quality offensive. Our message is: We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that vitamins produced sustainably in the 'Obst- und Gemüsegarten Pfalz' will reach consumers throughout Germany even fresher and more crisp in the future via our partners in the food retail trade!"
The focus on freshness, to which the company would like to continue to attach great importance in the future, is a central aspect in the design of the new building. "The basis for the planning was a comprehensive goods flow analysis. Here the foreign exchange applies: Fresh fruit and vegetable of Pfalzmarkt registered association are to arrive in the future still faster from the field into the trade and into the shopping basket of the country wide consumers. In order to offer even more freshness and quality in fresh fruit and vegetables, around 20,000 square meters of the 30,000 square meters of hall space in the new building will be refrigerated throughout".
Short and reliable routes from producer to consumer will become more relevant
As a result of the Corona pandemic and the European heat wave, the advantage of short and reliable paths from the producer to the consumer is becoming increasingly relevant: "Sustainably and seasonally produced fruit and fresh vegetables from German cultivation are - also for this reason - still very much in vogue with more and more consumers," explains Pfalzmarkt board member Hans-Jörg Friedrich. "In order to be able to supply fresh fruit and vegetables from the Palatinate as early as possible and thus ensure the supply in Germany, the Pfalzmarkt producers were and are challenged this season in an unprecedented way. Together with 150 employees of the trading platform, they have made the impossible possible."
Fewer harvest helpers and the official requirements for pandemic prevention, which the 180 active producers have met since mid-March, have resulted in an additional workload and currently still incalculable additional costs.
Photo: Architectural office / Mike Bollongino
Regionality is even more in the ascendancy in the era of the corona virus - is organic the next logical step?
"Pfalzmarkt eG has been active in the organic sector for many years. For organic and conventional products, we find 'grown in Germany' to be the most important criterion. After that, it is a matter of making sure the transport of the fruit and vegetables is sustainable and CO2-positive. That's where regionality comes into play. The expansion of the site will enable us to make even greater strides in this respect."
Signal for the sustainability of the cooperative principle
For the total of 1,400 members of Pfalzmarkt eG, the expansion of the site is also an important signal, because it proves the sustainability of the cooperative principle. Christian Deyerling, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and parallel producer at Pfalzmarkt eG says: "We act as a unique association of producers and sales specialists. In times of Corona, it is clear that there is no better alternative to this form of intelligent division of labour!"