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Wholesaler Günter Steiner on lettuce imports

"Late start to French lettuce season due to extension of the domestic season"

Normally, there would already be plenty of French lettuces incoming at Bavarian wholesaler Steiner -in Raubling- in early to mid-November. This year, the first colorful lettuces from France arrived only in the last week of November. "Thanks to optimal climatic conditions, we were able to obtain the entire assortment of colorful lettuces from our regional suppliers throughout November," says Managing Director Günter Steiner.

An abundant supply characterizes this year's season opener in France, Steiner continues. "There is plenty of produce available, which is reflected in a certain sales pressure. Furthermore, prices are about 20 percent below last year's levels, although transport and other logistics costs have risen considerably. In terms of sales, Lollo Bionda and Rosso, in particular, as well as mixed lettuce, are well received by our customers in the food service and institutional catering sectors. Frisée, on the other hand, which is also grown on a relatively large scale in France, is seeing relatively little demand."

French imported lettuces are sourced mainly from Brittany or southern France and can be offered from March-April.

Tough price-quality battle in the lettuce market
Steiner's leafy vegetable assortment is sourced from three countries around the cold season. Iceberg lettuce comes in from Spain. For radicchio and endives, the firm relies on Italian goods. For multicolored lettuces, the catering trade supplier has been relying exclusively on French producers for some years. Steiner: "We are observing a tough price/quality battle in the lettuce market, with France performing best in the area of colorful lettuces with a consistent quality. As far as Italy goes, in recent years, we have had to contend with frosts and the associated quality fluctuations more and more frequently. For certain varieties, such as Lollo Bionda, frost-related quality losses might mean that we can no longer market the goods at all."

Furthermore, Steiner also points to the seasonal change in the greenhouse vegetable sector. "So far, procurements are going smoothly. Regarding peppers and cucumbers, we have already switched to Spain, while our tomatoes still come from Dutch greenhouses. The coming weeks will show whether and to what extent the energy crisis will lead to a supply shortage."

Intense staff shortages characterize the catering industry
As a regionally active wholesaler, Steiner is always on hand to offer advice and support to restaurateurs and the catering industry. "By and large, sales are back at pre-Corona levels, and the price and cost increases have not yet led to any significant drops in sales. We are observing intense staff shortages in the catering industry and, as a result, a considerable increase in demand for ready-to-eat salads and ready-to-cook products. That is why, as an additional service, we now also offer processed goods."

Images: Steiner Obst und Gemüse Großhandel  

For more information:
Günter Steiner
Steiner Obst und Gemüse Großhandel
Neue Kreisstraße 3
D – 83064 Raubling
Tel: (+49) 080 35 / 56 73
Fax: (+49) 080 35 / 90 74 8
E-Mail: [email protected]  

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