The onset of winter in the Mediterranean region has had a noticeable impact on the vegetable trade. "We buy a lot of dandelion, radicchio, and colorful salads from Italy at this time of year and have noticed that the cold snap has had less of an impact on product availability than on prices. However, the effects are very different: "Radicchio prices are almost at the same level as last year, but for Italian herbs, there have sometimes been price increases of up to 50 percent compared with the previous year," says Thomas Schönfeld-Simon, catering supplier and owner of the Lorenz Köhlen company based at the Frischezentrum Essen.
Schönfeld-Simon is now the third generation of managers to run the company, which was founded in 1955, and over the years, it has specialized primarily in supplying gastronomy and commercial kitchens in the Rhine-Ruhr region. In view of the Corona crisis and the associated drop in sales, the Essen-based wholesaler has also experienced three difficult years. "We, too, had to cope with sharp declines in sales in the food service industry, but then we were fortunate in that we also supply many retirement homes and other commercial kitchens in the region. Accordingly, we weathered the pandemic well overall."
Organic and convenience on the rise
After the difficult pandemic years, long-term developments, such as organic and convenience, are also coming more concisely to the fore again, observes the catering wholesaler furthermore. "Organic is gradually gaining importance, especially apples, pears, as well as citrus fruits. We are noticing that catering kitchens, in particular, are increasingly asking specifically for organic products and are in the fortunate position of having found a reliable partner from whom we can source the goods. We also see the potential to further expand our organic division."
Pre-cut produce and convenience products are also becoming increasingly popular with local restaurateurs and bulk consumers. "We cut a lot of cabbage ourselves and also peel asparagus during the season. The products we can't process ourselves are bought in from regular suppliers wherever possible. This way, we can always offer high-quality products to our customers," Schönfeld-Simon concludes.
Want to find out more about the Essen Fresh Produce Center?
Click here for the pictures of our March 2023 wholesale market visit.
For more information:
Tel.: 0201 / 323291
Fax: 0201 / 323291