The beginning of November marked the change of season for Früchte Eder Ltd from Kirchham/Tutting with peppers from Spain, which they had previously sourced from Belgium and the Netherlands. "The quality is still very good, as the plants are still quite young. They are greenhouse produce from Almería," says Managing Director Robert Eder.
Price increases of 0.40 to 0.50 EUR/kg
Demand is still good. "Peppers are one of the best-selling items after tomatoes and cucumbers. We mainly sell red and yellow peppers, followed by green and orange. We only offer the GG size, which corresponds to a weight of around 220 grams, which is the most popular size on average in Germany. A shortage is not expected so far, but the situation may change significantly due to the increase in tolls from December," Eder suspects.
"The current price situation is the same as in previous years: red peppers are between EUR 2.20 and 2.30/kg, and yellow and green peppers are EUR 2.00/kg. The toll will have to be passed on from December, adding around EUR 0.40 to 0.50 per kilo. This will affect pretty much the entire sector, including food retail chains and wholesalers. For market players like us, it will be more difficult again from next year because additional toll charges will be added to smaller delivery vans of up to five tons."
Lettuce quality problems in winter
He currently sees major problems with lettuces from France. "In France, transportation costs have almost doubled. Because produce from France is so expensive at the moment, we have to buy produce from Italy. The quality of Italian produce tends to deteriorate around Christmas time. It remains to be seen whether French lettuces will still be available at all. So Germany as a whole will probably have a quality problem with salads in winter." French lettuces are around a third more expensive than Italian lettuces, but the quality is better. "French forwarders charge significantly more than Italian ones. The price spiral that was announced two years ago is now making itself felt."
Eder has also observed growing dissatisfaction among employees. "A lot has changed since corona. People either have the impression that they can continue to live off the state or they are no longer able to work properly after two years of the pandemic. Apart from that, there is also the question of how many people are still prepared to start work at 3 a.m. or to work in the cold, for example, in the wholesale trade. For the past two years, it has basically been the employees who have determined the market. So we have no choice but to accept all potential employees, whether young or old."