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Manuel Pentz on the state of the pre-cut vegetable industry:

"We can now finally get back to our work"

"We had a really very good start at the beginning of the strawberry season because we had extremely good weather. Even during the Italian and Spanish seasons, we were able to offer good produce," says Manuel Pentz of Pentz Ltd & Co.

Business manager Manuel Pentz

Higher demand for processed products
"What has emerged during the Corona season, is that our major customers, such as bakers or canteens, are turning even more to processed products, such as our strawberries. Due to the lack of personnel in the respective companies, these products are more and more in demand. After all, if you offer a good and reliable quality standard, customers are always happy to pick them up."

Pentz sees advantages in particular in the possibility of being able to save on certain work steps: "Our customers have now noticed that they can save on the extra work that would be involved in disposing of organic waste, for example, by using our products. We have noticed this not only with our major processing customers, but also especially in the food service industry. The amount we market has doubled, if not tripled."

Julia-Gourmet for gastronomy
The Pentz premium blend was particularly popular: "We made our gastronomy customers a gastro restart offer that was very well received. Our most popular mix was used; the Julia Gourmet premium mix. In it, a colorful leaf salad is processed consisting of completely hand-plucked lettuces as well as finely chopped radicchio and lamb's lettuce." The mixes were offered at a reduced price by Pentz: "We wanted to accommodate our gastro customers with this. By not having staff, they were able to compensate more easily for the initial rush in catering."

"We offer the service to be able to continue to offer the regular assortment, meaning fresh productions for every day. This way, we want to show customers that we are there for them, even in difficult times. Conversely, we are counting on the appreciation and loyalty of our customers as soon as the range becomes larger again and competitors begin to market their products," Pentz said.

Julia Gourmet Blend

Positive boost from consistency
"Our approach was to offer the same service and maintain our assortment despite the difficult time. There shouldn't be any products that are eliminated from the assortment because of the situation." The strategy worked: "It turned out that our actions paid off because we then had a positive upturn in terms of overall sales." Nevertheless, there was a slight decline elsewhere: "After the restaurant business reopened, purchasing power fell slightly in the food retail sector."

Colorful upsurge
"What we can see is that since the Corona restrictions were loosened, blends that catch the eye sell better. During Corona, we refined our Julia Gourmet blend. Now we have created a special Giulia blend from Italian baby leaf lettuces, chard, baby leaf spinach, frisée, etc. We have renamed this and added it to the offering as Speciale Giulia." Customers have been very happy with this offering, he said.

"We haven't lost any laborers," Pentz proudly informed us. "Small customers who did not want to close their business completely have been neglected in the market, whereas those who opened turned out to be medium-sized customers. Of course it is still difficult for us to find new employees, because of the fear of new restrictions in the winter."

Production of salad mixes

Slight shortfall in sales and family support
"In terms of sales levels, we are nevertheless missing around 20% catering revenues. The big events -such as large weddings and the like- were not taking place for a long time. This July, larger weddings and such are allowed again for the first time in Baden-Württemberg. Also, large canteens were allowed to re-open." In order to cope with the workload, the company relies on its family bonds. "Since my brother Maximilian has been very eager to look for new employees and has published new tenders early on, we are so well positioned that we have had to turn down virtually no orders so far."

"Finally, I would like to emphasize that I am so very pleased to now be able to see our competitors and industry colleagues resuming their work. All of them can go back to what is important to us; bringing a good service and delivering good products. We wish everyone a successful restart."

For more information:
Pentz GmbH & Co. KG
Manuel Pentz
Willy-Messerschmitt-Str. 18
73457 Essingen
Tel.: +49 (0) 7365 / 964 680
Fax: +49 (0) 7365 / 922 2132

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