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Nico Gaude from Abels Früchte Welt Ltd:

"Outdoor catering in particular is suffering from the unseasonal weather"

The persistent cold and heavy rainfall in large parts of Germany are having a major impact on some markets. "Outdoor catering in particular is suffering from the current, unseasonal weather. Normally, high sales are generated in the catering sector in the months from April to July, some of which have now been lost," reports Nico Gaude, Managing Director of Bonn-based company Abels Früchte Welt Ltd. "We had a major customer who ordered weekly fruit baskets for their employees, but has now stopped doing so to save money. Also, a nearby hospital kitchen closed down. These are losses in turnover that cannot be absorbed in the short term."

To counteract this to some extent, Abels Früchtewelt has once again stepped up its customer acquisition activities. "Among other things, this has enabled us to win over many smaller customers, such as restaurants, caterers and beer gardens. We have also specialised in the latter area in view of the European Championship 2024. Unfortunately, this has not yet fully materialised; again, due to the weather. Overall, current sales are slightly below the previous year's level. If the weather had been better in recent months, there would simply have been more momentum in cities such as Cologne and Bonn."

Right: Abels Früchte Welt is a company of the FRESH + FRIENDS Group and therefore has access to the entire product range, including fruit & vegetables, ready-cut, dairy products and convenience.

Stable price and procurement situation
Although inflation has now normalised again to some extent, restaurateurs continue to pay 'extreme attention to price' when purchasing, which, according to Gaude, is in turn due to cost increases, above all the deductions for energy costs and the increase in VAT. The procurement situation, on the other hand, is rather stable. "Due to the wet fields, the open ground vegetables, which we mainly source from regional farmers, are sometimes a bit earthy. Apart from minor gaps in supply, which we fill with imported goods, I haven't noticed any significant shortages so far. I also have the impression that we have overcome the inflation peak, which is why we are seeing a stable, even price trend for many products, without extreme fluctuations like in the previous year."

More critical, however, is the increasing shortage of logistic personnel. "The challenges we face here are that we need flexible lorry drivers, especially from March to October, to cope with the seasonal peaks, while we have less to do in winter. We constantly advertise vacancies, but hardly any young drivers will apply. This lack of young talent in logistics will have a serious impact in a few years' time."

Nico Gaude is Managing Director of Abels Früchte Welt. The company's main customers are mainly the catering, hotel and communal catering sectors.

Despite everything, Gaude is confident about the future. The current European Football Championship in particular is generating new impetus. "Among other things, we are responsible for catering for the police in Cologne, one of the European Championship venues. We are responsible for the daily delivery of fruit, vegetables and additional products. We also supply the hotel where the Swiss national team is staying. In this respect, we are already benefiting from the European Championships."

Pictures: Abels Früchte Welt GmbH

For more information:
Nico Gaude
Abels Früchte Welt GmbH
53121 Bonn
Phone: +49 0228 6680-20
Fax: +49 0228 6680-222
Email: [email protected]

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